Please, help the Center for Biological Diversity end unsustainable commercial harvest of wild freshwater turtles across the South and Midwest by sending a message now.
Here’s what’s going on: Harvests and exports of wild turtles have skyrocketed recently. Herpetologists are reporting drastic reductions in turtle numbers across southern and midwestern states, as well as the disappearance of many species, particularly southern map turtles. These turtles are harvested for the pet trade and domestic and international food markets. And they’re not even a safe food source: Turtles sold as food are often contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and pesticides.
To help save plummeting turtle populations, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas to ban commercial turtle harvest in public and private waters in 2008; this year we also petitioned Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee, the last states with unrestricted commercial harvest or weak harvest regulations.
Thanks in part to our campaign, this June the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the strongest conservation measures for freshwater turtles in the country, banning commercial harvest of freshwater turtles in Florida.
Florida's new regulations went into effect in July, but other states need to be pressured to adopt sensible stewardship of freshwater turtles. Your message will be sent to wildlife and health departments and governors of the remaining states with weak turtle harvest regulations, encouraging them to give these marvelous animals a break and end commercial harvest.