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The food, traditional medicines and to a
lesser extent the pet markets of the world are having a heavy impact on
chelonian populations. The removal of adult animals from a population of long
lived, low fecundity, low recruitment species can result in dire consequences
for the future of wild populations. These consequences, while not initially
obvious, can result in a complete population crash. Many turtle and tortoise
species are examples of this effect. With generally low hatchling
It is not uncommon for an entire year's worth of egg production to be wiped out by climate (drought, flooding, aberrant temperatures), predation (raccoons, fire ants, human) or nesting habitat loss (construction, sand mining, "park" creation, dam building, ranching). While a single year or multiple year's egg and hatchling losses do not doom species that have long breeding lives, removal of the adults effectively removes any chance of that animal contributing to the survival of the wild populations.
In the food markets in particular, wild caught larger, adult animals are highly prized. This series of web sections and articles are intended to educate visitors to the World Chelonian Trust web site of the existence of these markets around the world as well as the species that they are affecting.
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