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Declared Turtle Trade From the United States
Various other sources weigh into the various observations that are made about the trade in this work. Some of these sources are referenced below.
Peter Paul van Dijk Ph.D.
Director, Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program
Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS)
Observations in the Chinese Markets on April 1st 2006 (Pers. Comm.) Observations were made on a single day and the numbers are rough approximations. These were only animals on display, animals still in crates or not in view were not approximated. With the exception of Trachemys scripta elegans and Chelydra serpentina the ballpark figures for North American species were approximately 100 per market per day.
Trachemys scripta elegans - available in the thousands in the food and pet markets
Chelydra serpentina - about 100 in the food market, a dozen in the pet market
Macrochelys temminckii - a dozen large available in the food market, 2 or 3 larger in the pet market
Malaclemys terrapin - 10 - 20 available in the food market, a few adults available in the pet market
Apalone ferox - 10 - 15 subadults in the food market, 10 - 15 juveniles in the pet market
Chrysemys picta - a few in the pet market
Sternotherus odoratus - a few in the pet market
Sternotherus minor or carinatus - a few juveniles in the pet market
Kinosternon species - about 10 in the pet market
Size and numbers of animals indicate considerable rearing of imported chelonia for the markets.
ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA
(Rev. 1), Nineteenth meeting of the Animals Committee
Geneva (Switzerland), 18-21 August 2003, Trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles, [Resolution Conf. 11.9 (Rev. CoP12) and Decision 12.43], DEVELOPMENT OF MID- AND LONG-TERM CONSERVATION MEASURES FOR TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES Entire Document available at this location
"There is little doubt that mass farming and rearing of the American Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) occurs in mainland China, as evidenced by significant quantities of obviously captive-born and raised animals being offered in East Asian food markets, including animals of captive-bred colour varieties. According to statistics from the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of P.R. China (Shi & Fan, 2002), about half a million Trachemys scripta have been produced for commerce annually in the past three years. This is still less than recorded exports of T. scripta hatchlings from the USA to P.R. China in recent years, which amount amounted to 4.65 million animals in 1998, 4.71 million in 1999, 7.50 million in 2000, and 1.74 million in the first 10 months of 2001 (LEMIS data), suggesting rearing of imported hatchlings represents a very significant part of the total trade volume. The dynamics of this are likely to be significantly affected in the near future by China’s termination of allowing imports of turtles smaller than 10 cm shell length (Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of P.R. China, 2002)." (ed. comment: This regulation is now in force)
The European Union went as far as to prohibit the importation of the subspecies (Trachemys scripta elegans) in 1997 because it is assumed to represent a potential threat to European native freshwater turtle species. Yet in its documentation on the import ban, the European Union admitted that it was not aware of documented ecological damage. Luiselli et al. (1997) "
"It is obvious that feral Red-eared Slider Turtle populations are most likely to establish in areas intensively impacted by humans, such as urban and agricultural areas, which are precisely the areas where native turtle communities have been most impacted. Declines of native turtle species in human-impacted landscapes have been widely documented throughout the world. It is convenient to blame observed declines in native species on the presence of a non-native species, but without a convincing causal link, this is not justified. "
"Thus, the potential ecological threat posed by the establishment of feral populations of Trachemys scripta elegans, or Chelydra serpentina or Macroclemys temminckii by analogy, cannot be predicted based on our current understanding of the species’ biology in non-native areas."
Founder stock collection, genetic pollution and invasive exotics are but three of the potential threats associated with turtle farming. The alternative, however, is unmanaged exploitation of remaining Asian and global tortoise and freshwater turtle populations, which is vastly worse.
Regulated Living Organisms under the Invasive Alien Species Act
In June of 2006 Japan banned the import of Chelydra under the Regulated Living Organisms under the Invasive Alien Species Act
CITES Policy. Specialist, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Data lag and FOIA requests (pers. comm.)
Varying species identification codes in FEMIS (pers. comm.)
No method exists to record the identification of hybrid turtles, hybrids are identified as a similar species.
Species will be listed alphabetically
If possible links will be provided to pertinent information about the species on this site. Supplying care information should not be construed as support for this trade.
If there is a conservation status for this species it will be noted
The numbers of live animals exported between November 02, 2002 and November 26, 2005 will be supplied for each species, detailing the total numbers of animals as well as the number and the percentage of the total for each year which were wild caught.
Yearly Totals - all species combined exported in each year with the number of wild caught and wild caught percentage calculated. The totals will be presented in the same manner for the entire time period for which we have data.
Monthly Totals - totals broken down by month for the entire time period
Nuggets (tidbits of information buried in the data)
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