All over the Internet, on Facebook, on blogs, on turtle forums and tortoise forums there are requests for New Yorkers to protest a proposed State Assembly bill that would allow trapping of snapping turtles.
I could not find any information on why these members of the New York State Assembly want to re-introduce the trapping of snapping turtles now. But I did find this informative article in the Baltimore City Paper explaining that trapping snapping turtles was banned in the state in 2009.
Ten years ago I researched an article on the global turtle crisis. Scientists and conservationists said that China’s increasing wealth had just about wiped out wild turtles not only in China, but throughout Southeast Asia. The Chinese were importing turtles from Africa and Australia. At the time scientists feared the crisis would reach the United States.
In the US, the southern states were the first to see turtle exports to China. Is the New York State bill an attempt to cash in on the trade? Current New York State law allows hunters to shoot the turtles with guns or arrow, but not live trap them. The Chinese market demands live turtles.
Snapping turtles are common in New York State and elsewhere. What made the global turtle crisis a crisis, however, is that the that the turtles started out common everywhere, but were quickly wiped out.
Photo: Snapping turtle by Chelsi Hornbaker, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service