Feeds

Chinese tuck into Texas turtles

Export trade threatens snappers, conservationists claim

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?