St. Pete, FL Daily Photo: Florida Wildlife: Turtles

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Florida Wildlife: Turtles

A gopher tortoise ignores me while I take pictures. I so love turtles, don't you?

A ban on commercial harvesting of fresh water turtles went into effect in July last year. Some locals consume turtles as delicacies, but the real pressure on the species comes from international export:
Increased demand for freshwater turtles in Asian and South American markets led to the conclusion that the pressure on the species would continue to increase. In addition, neighboring states began tightening their freshwater turtle rules, leading more harvesters to Florida's fresh waters.
The ban also impose limits to individuals:
Individuals will be allowed to take one freshwater turtle per day per person from the wild for noncommercial use. People cannot transport more than one turtle per day. The rule prohibits taking turtles from the wild that are listed on Florida's imperiled species list. Individuals cannot take species that look similar to the imperiled species; these include common snapping turtles and cooters. In addition, the ban includes collecting freshwater turtle eggs.

I've caught a few turtles in previous years, but always to pick them up out of the streets and into parks, where they should be. It is not uncommon to find them on city streets, and it sometimes takes guts to stop a busy traffic to rescue these guys.


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