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Home > Communications > Newsroom > 2006

NEWSROOM

Alligator Snapping Turtles and Map Turtles Included on CITES Appendix III
February 3, 2006

Map and alligator snapping turtle vendors will be subject to new export regulations beginning June 14. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is including these species in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife and Flora (CITES). This will be the first Appendix III listing for the United States.

CITES is an international agreement between governments that ensures the survival of a species is not threatened by trade. Species included in CITES are listed in three appendices by the protection level needed. Appendix III species being shipped are required to have an export permit from their native country. Additionally, the certificate requires that every specimen be listed at the species level, halting the practice of combining different map turtle species into one category.

For further information on the CITES listing refer to
http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/05-24099.html.

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. They are protected by all states, but levels of protection vary. Louisiana law bans commercial trade of alligator snapping turtles. Louisiana law also places a one-a-day per boat limit on alligator snapping turtles taken by recreational fishermen. Alligator snapping turtles are declining substantially throughout their range. A major threat is over-collection of turtles from the wild for human consumption or the pet trade.

There are 12 species of map turtles in North America. Several occur in Louisiana such as the Alabama map turtle, the Pascagoula map turtle and the false map turtle. Trade in map turtles has increased rapidly since the 1990s. The demand for the turtles comes from the international pet industry. Typically, map turtles are raised on farms in the United States, but map turtles collected from the wild also find their way into commercial trade.

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