Experts Fear Connecticut’s Snapping Turtles At Risk From Commercial Hunting
tartly schlitz dumping physikalischen speicher apping turtles are big. They’re ugly. They’ve been around since the dinosaurs, usually as the apex predators in rivers, ponds and lakes. Now, wildlife experts are worried about the survival of these ancient creatures.
https://www.jewelrybymiaj.com/3120-cs33504-quatro-casino-czardas-monti-midi-controller.html Lawmakers and environmental activists are once again pushing for tougher legislation over commercial trapping of Connecticut snapping turtles, most of which are being sent to China and other Asian markets. State officials also plan to launch a study this year to learn how pollution may be affecting snapping turtle populations. in this state.
vegas slots promo codes Mpwapwa Connecticut wildlife officials and biologists fear these remarkable native creatures could vanish like the passenger pigeon if nothing is done.
besten slot casinos Ankeny « We know their population has been declining, » said Jenny Dickson, a supervising biologist with Connecticut’s wildlife division, « not just here in Connecticut but throughout the snapping turtle’s range. »
quer namorar traduzir em ingles The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmental group, estimates that more than 2 million wild turtles are exported from the U.S. every year. Most are headed to China where they are popular as both food and medicine.
stromectol combien de prise It’s not clear how many of those exported snappers are from Connecticut. Until three years ago, the state didn’t regulate snapping turtle hunting. A 30-turtle-per-year limit was placed on licensed trappers in 2013, and last year the annual limit was reduced to 10 turtles because of worries about the snapper population. Only turtles with an upper shell, known as a « carapace, with a length of at least 13 inches are allowed to be trapped.
Connecticut still has no requirements for trappers to report how many snappers are being taken, and cases of unlicensed trapping have been reported. According to state records, 588 turtle harvesting licenses were issued in last year. Efforts to contact turtle trappers for comment were unsuccessful.
« I’ve been pushing for this with a group of concerned people for over five years, » Wesleyan University biologist Barry Chernoff said of legislation to place more controls over commercial trapping of snapping turtles.
« How can you regulate or manage a resource unless you know the state of that resource? » Chernoff asked.
Rep. Matthew Lesser, D-Middletown, is sponsoring a bill that aims to make sure that « snapping turtles are not being harvested at a rate that’s not sustainable. » A similar measure died in 2016, in part because of uncertainty over the current status of Connecticut’s snappers.
Chernoff, head of Wesleyan’s environmental studies program, believes decisions to enact turtle trapping bans in New York, Massachusetts and Maine are having unintended consequences for Connecticut.
« As those states made taking snapping turtles illegal, it looks to me like more people are coming into this state to trap turtles, » Chernoff said. He said he has come across both legal and illegal turtle traps while taking students for field trips into the Mattabesset wetlands near Middletown.
Native Americans hunted snapping turtles in Connecticut for thousands of years and European settlers picked up the habit after they arrived. Trapping of the big turtles, which can grow as large as 35 pounds, has been atradition among some families.
But now China’s massive hunger for turtle meat, shells and eggs has combined with dramatic declines in Asian turtle populations to put increasing pressure on North America’s freshwater turtles, according to experts.
« Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are being harvested in unprecedented numbers in the United States to meet the needs of this international market, » is the conclusion of a new study published in this month’s Journal for Nature Conservation.
Estimates of how many snapping turtles inhabit Connecticut waters are difficult to come by because no one has done any comprehensive population surveys. Dickson said there are « probably thousands » of snappers lurking in ponds, lakes, streams and rivers.
Dickson said her agency would love to do a comprehensive population survey for snapping turtles, but simply doesn’t have the estimated $100,000 a study would cost. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is facing additional cuts because of Connecticut’s budget crisis.
One major concern about turtle harvesting is that snapping turtles aren’t ready to reproduce until they reach about age 16, and can live 35 years or more. That sort of slow reproductive cycle means snapper populations are likely to have a difficult time recovering from overhunting.
Contrary to popular belief, experts say, snappers pose no threats to humans. If you’ve ever gone swimming in a lake or pond or waded along a stream in Connecticut, you’ve probably been within feet of snappers and never knew it.
Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is just now wrapping up its own four-year, $120,000 snapping turtle study, which was triggered by growing concerns about how commercial harvesting was impacting turtle populations.
J.D. Kleopfer, a Virginia state herpetologist participating in the study, said commercial trappers in the state took more than 7,900 snapping turtles in 2013. Kleopfer worries about the environmental consequences of taking an apex predator like the snapping turtle out of freshwater ecosystems.
« They play a huge role, » Kleopfer said, comparing the role of snappers to those of other top predators like wolves. « It would be naive of us to think we’re not damaging the ecosystem by removing these predators
DEEP plans to begin its first snapping turtle study this year. The research was expected to start in 2016, but the state’s staffing cutbacks forced a postponement.
The DEEP study will focus not on numbers but on whether « heavy metal and organic contaminants » are hurting snapping turtle reproduction. Dickson said the snapper research is focused on whether « the population is successfully reproducing at desired levels. »
Pollutants in the environment tend to become more concentrated as they move up the food chain, from small organisms, to fish and frogs, until they reach apex predators like eagles and snapping turtles.
Bald eagles, for example, virtually disappeared from Connecticut in the 1960s because of DDT pollution that caused their eggs to have ultrathin shells that collapsed under the weight of nesting parents.
Dickson said snappers, as top aquatic predators, « absolutely serve as good environmental indicators. » In other words, if something is going wrong with these big turtles, it’s a sign nasty things are happening to Connecticut’s water ecosystem.