Turtles and Tortoises Are Being Illegally Trafficked in the United States

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast Region

A gopher tortoise was recently found in Massachusetts – about 1,000 miles away from its native habitat in the southern United States. So how did it possibly get there? The growing illegal wildlife trade of turtles and tortoises in the country, experts fear.

Sign now to demand the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast region increase the resources and efforts going toward endangered turtle and tortoise protections and conservation!

While turtles make wonderful pets, they should never be taken from the wild – this is a form of poaching. Not only do turtles experience extreme stress and trauma when they're ripped from their natural homes and turned into pets for families, but southern ecosystems are hurt, too. No animal should be sold into captivity, and given that this whole process is totally illegal, these reptiles are often sold to totally ill-equipped owners.

Given that turtles and tortoises tend to reproduce extremely slowly, stealing even a small portion from a habitat can have tremendous consequences on the overall population. Luckily, the gopher tortoise – the same species found in Massachusetts – is actually protected by the Endangered Species Act, which should make enforcement of this problem simpler for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Turtles and tortoises deserve freedom from the harms of poaching. Tell the agency: increase the resources and efforts going towards endangered turtle and tortoise conservation! We cannot allow this tragic illegal trafficking to continue!
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