Efforts Underway To Save Ohio's Endangered Wild Turtle Populations
Conservation groups say Ohio's wild turtle populations are at risk due to increased harvesting. They are calling for limits to be placed on the numbers of turtles that may be harvested by for-profit traders. More harvesting is due to greater demand in Asia for softshell and snapping turtles, which are used for food and medicinal purposes. The Center for Biological Diversity says over the past five years, nearly 17 million U.S. wild turtles were exported to Asia. Sierra Club of Ohio chair Guy Marentette says this is one of five states that allow for the commercial harvest of turtles.
Ray Stewart with the Ohio Wetlands Association says while the state has size and seasonal limits in place, there are no restrictions on the number of turtles that may be harvested.
Six female spotted turtles were recently released into the wild. The Greater Cleveland Aquarium cared for the turtles prior to their release. Spokesperson Tami Brown.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources lists that species as threatened. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists many of Ohio's turtle species as threatened.