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Trading of red-eared turtles illegal in SA

Trading of red-eared turtles illegal in SA

Johannesburg – The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Thursday warned South Africans not to buy or sell red-eared slider turtles which are currently being peddled illegally on the internet.

“The red-eared slider is one of the American turtle species (Trachemys species) currently listed as Category 1b in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act Alien and Invasive Species Regulations of 2014,” the department said in a statement.

“In terms of this category of listing, such species must be controlled, and may not be sold, transferred, bred or in any other manner allowed to invade.” The sale of the turtles over the internet was therefore illegal, and regarded as an offence under the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations. “Such offences may result in a fine of up to R5 million for the first offence and/or a jail sentence.”

The department was planning on banning adverts for the sales of the turtles after it engaged with the administrators of websites where the illegal trading was taking place. – ANA