Snapping turtles may get protection from feds

Snapping turtles may get protection from feds
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Snapping turtles would be protected under new federal rules proposed Wednesday.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering placing common snapping turtles, along with Florida softshell turtles, smooth softshell turtles and spiny softshell turtles, on an international endangered species list. These are all freshwater turtles.

This would give the FWS the authority to monitor the international turtle trade, the agency said.

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According to the agency, more than 811,000 snapping turtles were exported in 2011, the most recent data that is available.

The FWS said snapping turtles are in danger of being harvested for their meat as well as collected as pets.

"In general the species is marked by a life-history strategy of slow recruitment, late maturity, long lifespan, and high adult survivorship," the agency wrote in the Federal Register. "Any given population’s persistence is dependent on high adult survivorship, which makes the species vulnerable to directed anthropogenic activities, such as collecting."

The public has 60 days to comment.