From The Center for Biological DiversityCagle's map turtle

Please help us protect wild freshwater turtles in the southern United States from collection by commercial wildlife dealers. The Center has organized a coalition of conservation and health groups seeking to end the commercial harvest of freshwater turtles in four southern states and to stop the sale of contaminated turtles to domestic and international food markets.

Last month we petitioned Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas to ban all commercial turtle harvesting in public and private waters, to prevent further population declines of native southern turtle populations, and to protect public health. Turtles collected in these states and sold as food are often contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and pesticides.

Turtle dealers are harvesting massive and unsustainable numbers of wild freshwater turtles from the few southern states that continue to allow unlimited and unregulated take of turtles. Herpetologists report drastic reductions in turtle numbers and even the disappearance of many species in Georgia and Florida, particularly southern map turtles. The Center has identified nine turtle species vulnerable to collection in these states that may warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Recent surveys by Oklahoma State University show depletions and extinction of freshwater turtles in many Oklahoma streams. Commercial turtle buyers in Oklahoma reported purchasing almost 750,000 wild-caught turtles from 1994 to 1999. From Dallas Fort Worth Airport alone, over a quarter million wild-caught adult turtles captured from 2002 to 2005 in Texas were exported to Asia for human consumption.

Please tell the states of Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas to give wild turtles a break. Your message will be sent to the wildlife departments and health departments in each of the four states.

Visit here to take action.

Give Wild Turtles a Break