Feeds

Chinese tuck into Texas turtles

Export trade threatens snappers, conservationists claim

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Conservation groups have warned that Texas's unprotected turtle species are at risk from unrestricted collection of snappers destined for Chinese gourmets, Reuters reports.

According to figures from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), "an average of 94,442 turtles per year are taken by dealers" - mostly for export.

Chris Jones, an environmental lawyer who has "lobbied for turtle protection" said that, according to US Fish and Wildlife Service figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, "267,000 wild turtles were exported to Hong Kong from Dallas from 2002 to 2005".

Lee Fitzgerald, an associate professor of herpetology at Texas A&M University who's published research on the Texas turtle trade, explained: "Turtles need protection from overharvesting because they are slow to mature and their young have a high mortality rate. Their population can't take the removal of adults. If it continues, the population will collapse."

The TPWD in May approved a "measure to prohibit the collection of wild turtles on public land", but even when it becomes law, will still allow collectors to snare "three varieties of turtles on private land; the red-eared slider, the common snapping turtle, and five types of soft-shell turtles".

Texas's largest exporter of turtles to Asia, Bob Popplewell, aka "BayouBob", said the proposed law won't affect his business since he gets 99 per cent of his harvest from private lakes. He claimed there are "plenty of turtles" in Texas, which bother ranchers by "overcrowding" their lakes and ponds and gorging on fish eggs and birds.

Popplewell elaborated: "People tell me they don't want one nasty, stinking turtle in their lake. I've seen a decent-sized snapper pull down a full-grown goose. They are trained, stealthy predators."

While Fitzgerald described the TPWD measure as "a step in the right direction", conservation groups want "a total ban on commercial turtle collection", Reuters notes. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?