Three American Turtles Added To CITES List Of Protected Species

Blanding's turtles, spotted turtles and diamondback terrapins, turtles native to the United States have been given protections by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) under CITES Appendix II. These protections will enable officials to regulate the trade of these species using a permitting and reporting system that will allow the trade of these animals only when it is determined that such trade will be nondetrimental to the survival of the species.

According to the Center of Biological Diversity, the majority of the estimated 2 million wild caught turtles captured in the United States are exported to Asia for meat and "medicinal" use, and because Asian countries have depleted their native turtle populations, turtles from the United States have been exported to meet demand. In 2012, the Center filed a petition to protect the spotted turtle and Blanding's turtle under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The United States, in response to a petition by the Center that documented the turtle trade, proposed to protect these two species as well as the diamondback terrapin and the proposal was accepted today by CITES.

The spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) is a small black turtle with yellow spots on its shell. It grows to about 4 to 6 inches and is known to live for more than 100 years. More information on the spotted turtle can be found here.

The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a medium-sized turtle that has a gray black carapace with varying shell patterns and skin colors. The female tends to grow larger than the male, with the male reaching about five inches in length and the female reaching nine inches in length. The can live for more than 40 years. For more information on the diamondback terrapin, visit the information page here.

The Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) can grow to more than 9 inches in length and can live more than 70 years in captivity and in the wild. It is known for its long neck and bring yellow chin. To read more about the Blanding's turtle, click here.

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