The Turtle Conservancy continues to assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service in triage management of confiscated turtles and tortoises from the illegal wildlife trade. In total, the Turtle Conservancy has taken in over 100 animals in 2018, the majority of which are U.S. species being exported to Asia.
Despite our focus on so many other countries, it is easy to forget about the exploitation of wildlife within our borders. Turtles and tortoises are just now receiving the legislative protection that many birds and mammals receive in the U.S. However, despite these successes, enforcement of these laws remains difficult, due to underfunded wildlife agencies and increased demand for wildlife. Just this year, a poacher in Pennsylvania was discovered with over 3,000 illegal Diamondback Terrapins. In the South, Wood, Box, and Spotted Turtles remain a pet trade staple overseas. As we continue to work around the world protecting turtles, we also are refocusing efforts domestically, to protect species that were once common throughout the United States.