Ken Burton 202-208-5657
The alligator snapping turtle and all species of map turtles, which are native to the United States, are being given international protection, effective June 14, 2006, by their addition to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. The listing, which will allow the Service to work with States to regulate exports, marked the first time the
The alligator snapping turtle, the largest freshwater turtle in the world, is found in
There are 12 species of North American map turtles, which range from
Some 168 countries, in addition to the
"Wild populations of these turtles continue to decline, in part because of their popularity as both food and pets," said Service Director Dale Hall. "Working in close partnership with the States, we determined that an Appendix-III listing would allow us to reinforce State protections for these species and provide key trade information to better conserve these vulnerable species."
The Appendix-III listing of these species, published in today's Federal Register, requires a CITES export permit issued by the Service for all shipments of live specimens or products containing the turtle species. An export permit may be issued only for turtles collected in accordance with all Federal, State and local laws. Other CITES countries will only allow imports from the United States when shipments are accompanied by a valid U.S. export permit, and will only allow re-export of certified shipments. The CITES listing has no direct effect on any activities taking place within a State.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
For more information about CITES, alligator turtles and map turtles, visthttp://fws.international.gov
For information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov