NANFA-- OT: common snapping turtle- export #'s 2000-2002 (From HerpD

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Fri, 2 May 2003 19:03:36 -0500


This will be of interest to many of you. It should be of concern to all of

- Jan

Subject: The common snapping turtle- export #'s 2000-2002 (From

Herpdigest has just started analyzing data received from the USF&WS, via
the Freedom of Information Act, on the number of turtles, species, country
exported to, or imported into the US from 1998 to 2002.

Though we've just begun, we believe we've already discovered some
interesting facts. During the past three years the number of common snapping
turtles exported from the US has doubled each year - over 15,000 in 2000,
over 30,000 in 2001 and over 60,000 in 2002. And in 2002 half went to Hong
Kong. Add to that number the unknown amount sent to the numerous American
Asian markets and a lot of snappers seem to have been extracted from the

Though there is no way to tell exactly where these turtles came from (But we
believe you can tell what general area of the country by whom the exporter
was, and what port they where shipped out of) further analysis can possibly
show if the percentage shipped were mostly born in captivity and of juvenile
size or wild caught adults preferred by customers. (From our own
experience, and others, in the end of 2002, importers from Hong Kong were
contacting anyone they found associated with turtles on the net to see if
they can acquire and send them common snappers, they asked for adults, and
said they would be placing large orders of hatchlings afterwards. The
numbers for 2002 show they were somewhat successful.)

If these numbers are sustainable others must decide. At this moment we lack
the resources to research their natural history and current wild
populations. All we have the time for is to continue analyzing these numbers
as time permits.

Allen Salzberg
HerpDigest: The Free Weekly Electronic
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