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Auteur Topic: Macrochelys temminckii, Alligatorschildpad  (gelezen 34466 keer)
schildpaddennetcrew
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« Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:26:55 »

Voor de tot de verbeelding sprekende Macrochelys temminckii, Alligatorschildpad hebben wij Annieka Hermens gevraagd of zij bij de foto's die we hadden een stukje over
de Macrochelys temminckii, in het algemeen wilde schrijven.
Spontaan stemde zij hier mee in, en voor haar enthousiasme en mooie samenvating van deze onderzoeks gegevens willen we haar hartelijk bedanken.

Annieka, top deze samenwerking  uitroep ! uitroep !

Schildpaddenforumnet Team







Bedankt Stephen Miller




Macrochelys temminckii, Alligatorbijtschildpad

De alligatorbijtschildpad is de grootste zoetwaterschildpad van Noord-Amerika. Deze indrukwekkende soort staat bekend om zijn  bijtkracht, formaat en prehistorisch voorkomen.  Desondanks zijn het schuwe dieren met een teruggetrokken levenswijze en is er nog weinig bekend over hun gedragingen in het wild.

Het verspreidingsgebied van de alligatorbijtschildpad omvat het zuidoostelijke gedeelte van Noord-Amerika. Helaas zijn hun aantallen drastisch terug gelopen door jacht, vervuiling en verlies van leefgebied. Vooral in het noordelijke gedeelte van hun verspreidinggebied zijn er nog slechts kleine populaties te vinden of komen ze niet meer voor.






De vrouwelijke dieren van deze soort bereiken een respectabel formaat van gemiddeld 45 cm SCL. De mannetjes van deze soort kunnen gigantische lengten en gewichten bereiken. In de dierentuin van Brookfield leefde een mannelijk exemplaar van 117,5 kg met een SCL van 71,1 cm. Dit dier stierf in 1982. In Florida (1970) werd een dier gevangen en na zijn overlijden werden zijn schild en schedel geconserveerd. Het carapax had een SCL van 80,0 cm en een breedte 71,6 cm. Zijn schedel was maar liefst 24,1 cm breed.


Bedankt Sandra Jones


Alligatorbijtschildpadden zijn omnivoor en hun natuurlijke dieet bestaat uit een grote verscheidenheid aan prooi en plantensoorten. Deze soort heeft een unieke wormachtige tong die ze gebruiken om vis te verschalken. De dieren liggen op de bodem met hun bek wijd open en bewegen enkel de basis van hun tong in een zeer realistische imitatie van een worm. Vissen aangetrokken door het aas zwemmen dichterbij en zodra ze zich tussen de kaken begeven hapt de schildpad razendsnel toe. Uit onderzoek naar de maaginhoud van wilde alligatorbijtschildpadden in Louisiana en Arkansas blijkt dat vis hun voornaamste prooi is gevolgd door kreeften, schelpdieren, schildpadden en insecten. In mindere mate worden ook prooien zoals slangen, alligators en zoogdieren gevonden. Maar ook plantaardige zaken zoals waterplanten, eikels, wilde druiven, wortels, Caryanoten (in Amerika bekent als Hickory) en dadelpruimen worden gevonden.




Bedankt Bill Hughes


Alligatorbijtschildpadden bewonen langzaam stromende en stilstaande wateren.
Onderzoek naar het gebruik van leefgebied door alligatorbijtschildpadden (volwassen en halfwas dieren) wijst uit dat de dieren bepaalde vaste plekken in hun territorium hebben waar ze zich gedurende lange tijd ophouden. Deze plekken zijn veelal in water van gemiddeld 2,5 m diep (SD= +/- 0,7 m), in de buurt van obstakels in het water met daarboven overhangende vegetatie of oevers. Ook beverdammen werden gebruikt. Een dier kan gemiddeld 3 tot wel 28 dagen blijven liggen voordat het zich verplaatst naar een andere locatie.






Er is nog weinig bekent over de voortplanting van alligatorbijtschildpadden. Schattingen gebaseerd op onderzoek geven aan dat de dieren pas na 15 – 17 jaar geslachtsrijp worden.
De vrouwtjes leggen hun eieren van in de maanden Mei tot Juli. Nesten kunnen 9 tot 40 eieren bevatten, afhankelijk van de grootte en conditie van het vrouwtje.





Bronnen:
·   The Alligator Snapping Turte [Macrochelys (Macroclemys) temminckii]: A review of ecology, life history, and conservation, with demographic analyses of the sustainibility of take from wild populations.
·   The Alligator Snappingturtle, Bioloy and Conservation by Peter C.H. Pritchard
·   Microhabitat use homerange, and movements of the Alligator Snapping Turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, in Oklahoma.
·   Food Habits of Macrochelys temminckii (Alligator Snapping Turtle) from Arkansas and Louisiana.
·   Status and Distribution of the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) in Southeastern Misouri.
« Laatste verandering: 22 Maart 2009, 11:37:33 door schildpaddennetcrew » Gelogd
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« Antwoord #1 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:39:39 »

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE (Fayetteville) 14 September 08 Product moves slowly but traffic in turtles brisk (Nancy Cole)
Balch: The solid metal fences surrounding Marcus Balch’s turtle ponds are your first tip that his farm is not a run-of-the-mill aquaculture operation.
“Everything about turtles is different,” said Balch, who — along with son Scott — operates Northeast Arkansas Turtle Farm in eastern Jackson County.
The farm produces mainly red-eared sliders, common snapping turtles and spiny softshell turtles for sale as pets and as food, Balch said. Almost all the turtles are shipped by air from Little Rock in cardboard boxes, destined for brokers in the United States, Mexico, Europe and China, he said.
Balch, who operates eight turtle ponds and is building two more, was one of 19 Arkansans who bought an aquatic turtle breeder (farmer ) permit from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
In 2005, when the U. S. Department of Agriculture prepared its most recent Census of Aquaculture, only 99 turtle farms were counted nationwide in 12 states — 71 of them in Louisiana, five each in Florida and Iowa, and three each in Arkansas and Alabama.
Louisiana, which leads the nation in turtle production, had 62 turtle farms in 2007 that produced 10. 45 million turtles worth $ 6. 27 million, according to Louisiana State University’s AgCenter. Louisiana’s turtle farms are concentrated south of Baton Rouge and east of Alexandria, said Greg Lutz, a specialist with the AgCenter’s Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge.


Turtles are relatively simple to raise, Lutz said.
“They’re a little skittish. So, if you establish a new pond, it may take one or two years for them to really begin to lay their eggs reliably,” he said.
In 1975, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale or distribution of turtles with shells that measure less than 4 inches long because of concerns about the transmission of salmonella. Louisiana requires all hatchlings to be tested and certified salmonella-free, Lutz said.
Most Arkansas turtle farms have relatively small ponds, about one-half acre or less, stocked with about 10, 000 turtles, said George Selden, a Newport-based aquaculture specialist with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Aquaculture / Fisheries Center.
Unlike catfish ponds, turtle ponds don’t require aerators because turtles are air breathers, Selden said. Turtles also don’t require as much food as do catfish, because most turtles are omnivores that supplement their diets with naturally occurring plants and animals, he said.
One of the greatest challenges in farming turtles successfully is navigating the “very tricky market,” much of which is overseas, Selden said. For that reason, turtle farming is probably more like baitfish farming, “in which you have to establish relationships with individual clients,” he said.
Balch, who has raised baitfish for about 30 years, branched out into turtles six years ago. The new business is particularly labor intensive during the nesting season, he said.
From mid-May to mid-August, three employees and everyone in the extended Balch family stay busy collecting turtle eggs. The eggs are washed, dried and set in incubation trays that contain a bed of moist vermiculite and moss.
The eggs, which must not be turned on their long axis when removed from the nest, take 60-90 days to hatch, Balch said. During incubation, they’re kept in a carefully controlled environment that’s warm and humid, he said. Incubation temperature determines the turtles’ sex, with females produced in cooler temperatures and males produced in warmer temperatures. Like most turtle farmers, Balch supplements his own production by buying wild-caught turtles.
Turtle Regulations: Fourteen aquatic turtle species are found in Arkansas, said Kelly Irwin, state herpetologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Historically, wild turtle harvests were completely unregulated, he said. The first major change came in 1993, when the commission prohibited the taking of alligator snapping turtles, a species that takes up to 14 years to reach sexual maturity.
In 2004, the agency began gathering turtle harvest data that was supplied on a voluntary basis. As of Jan. 1, 2006, reporting became mandatory and the taking of chicken turtles was prohibited because so little is known about the species.
“We began to gather base-line information, so that we could make informed management decisions down the road,” Irwin said.
During 2006, 158, 636 wild aquatic turtles were harvested in Arkansas, 77 percent of them red-eared sliders. The top five harvest counties were Mississippi, Arkansas, White, Lonoke and Jackson.
During the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Game and Fish Commission sold 100 aquatic turtle harvest permits, 77 helper permits, 3 junior permits and 16 dealer permits. In addition, tags were issued for 6, 311 turtle hoopnets and 445 box-type traps.
Wild turtles face a number of threats, including habitat loss, water pollution, road mortality and incidental take by fishermen. Saving aquatic habitat could have a significant impact on the health of turtle populations, said Stan Trauth, a zoology professor with Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and lead author of the 2004 book The Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas.








Bedankt Karen Todd

Turtle eggs and hatchlings also are highly susceptible to predation by raccoons, foxes and fire ants.
Because freshwater turtles are slow growing, breed late in life and have low reproductive and survival rates, they are highly sensitive to over-harvesting, said Steve Dinkelacker, a biologist at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway who focuses on reptile research. Stable turtle populations depend on sufficient numbers of breeding adults to offset natural mortality and the impact of humans, he said.
Arkansas’ current turtle regulations are a step in the right direction, Dinkelacker said.
“I would personally like to see a ban on exploitation of wild stocks, and I think the science supports it, but Arkansas-specific data is lacking,” he said.
The Game and Fish Commission plans to review its aquaticturtle regulations after five years of harvest data have been collected, Irwin said.
“The trend is that most states have either severely restricted or closed entirely their aquatic turtle harvest,” he said.
Other States: “Mississippi closed the commercial harvest of their wildlife in 1992, across the board,” Irwin said. Missouri and Tennessee have limited aquatic-turtle harvesting to small areas and a very few species, he said. Responding to concerns from a number of states about turtle exports to China, the United States in June 2006 added alligator snapping turtles and all map turtles to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Also known as CITES, the convention is an international agreement that took effect in 1975 and now has 173 parties. The agreement aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. An Appendix III listing will help “ensure that the turtles being exported were taken legally under federal and state laws,” said Robert Gabel, who works for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Arlington, Va.
Last year, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department voted to end commercial turtle harvests in public waters and to limit harvests in private waters to just three species: red-eared sliders, common snapping turtles and softshell turtles.
Bob Popplewell, owner of the Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch in Santo, Texas, west of Fort Worth, said the regulatory change cut the business of his turtle-harvesting cooperative in half.
“We had a pipeline going into Asian countries, especially China,” said Popplewell, who has trained about 1, 400 Texans how to trap wild aquatic turtles.
Carl Franklin, curator of the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center at the University of Texas at Arlington, said he was disappointed that Texas’ new regulations failed to do more to limit harvesting.
“I don’t have any objection at all to people hunting or fishing or enjoying the outdoors; I love those activities as well. But people have to be conscientious about game management, and right now the dollar is winning out,” said Franklin, author of the 2007 book Turtles: An Extraordinary Natural History 245 Million Years in the Making.
In March, the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity petitioned Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas to end freshwater turtle harvests, saying such harvests are unsustainable.
The center also said many of the wild turtles that are collected are contaminated with mercury, PCBs and pesticides. Because turtles live longer than fish, scientists say they bioaccumulate considerably greater amounts of aquatic contaminants.
In May, Oklahoma enacted a three-year moratorium on commercial turtle harvests from public waters. Interim regulatory changes are under way in Florida and Georgia, said Jeff Miller, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity.
http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/237380/
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« Antwoord #2 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:41:23 »



PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL (Florida) 05 August 08 100-pound turtle's fate in limbo - Jay family debating whether to kill or keep their controversial catch (Carmen Paige)
Some people are outraged by a Jay family's capture of an estimated 100-pound alligator snapping turtle last weekend on the Escambia River and a comment that they might eventually kill it.
Richard Mast of Pensacola said he and friends believe its treatment is "totally outrageous."
"The turtle needs to be released into its natural habitat," he said.
The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida received 10 to 15 calls Monday morning, director Dorothy Kaufmann said.
"Wildlife should not be pets," she said. "If someone is going to kill something, it's best if it's a game animal. We are not into trophy situations."
Karen Brewton of Milton offered to buy the turtle.
"I would like to set it free," she said. "It's beautiful."
Jerry Phillips, 53, and his son, Glen, 15, caught the turtle and are debating what to do with it.
"We've got him pinned up in the water in a johnboat," Jerry Phillips said. "I plan to keep this turtle alive."
Glen said he wants to build a sanctuary for the turtle but doesn't have enough money.
"I do want to keep him alive, and if I get some help, I will," he said. "But I am not going to release him or (donate) him."
Glen said he will probably end up destroying the turtle for which they have had offers to trade or sell.
"I'll kill him and eat him and take him to the taxidermy and have his whole body mounted," he said.
Glen said the turtle, which he named Goliath, is OK for now.
"He's not suffering," he said. "We're taking good care of him."
Under Florida law, residents are allowed to have one alligator snapping turtle, said Lt. Stan Kirkland, regional public information coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
It is not endangered or threatened but is on the state's Species of Special Concern list.
"It is not illegal under Florida law to possess one at a time, and you can reduce it to a food item," he said. "We are not going to criticize the family for doing that."
Kirkland said the turtles cannot be sold. A fishing license is needed to capture the turtles but is not required for people under age 16, said Paul Moler, a retired biologist with the commission.
Moler said the turtles are not often seen.
"I don't consider them rare necessarily, just secretive," he said.
http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080805/NEWS01/808050323



PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL (Florida) 08 August 08 Snapping turtle sent to be stuffed (Sean Dugas)
A 100-pound alligator snapping turtle whose fate stirred controversy among area residents has been sent to a taxidermist in Milton.
Gary Phillips, 30, whose younger brother Glen Phillips caught the animal he named "Goliath," confirmed Thursday that the alligator snapping turtle was delivered earlier this week.
Phillips said the taxidermist will save the meat for the Jay family. He defended his family's right to use the animal for food.
"We're from the woods, and we live off the land. A lot of people are making a big deal about this, but you've got to eat," Phillips said. "I wish people could understand how it is to live out here.
"There's not a Circle K or a McDonald's you can run to."
The turtle's capture sparked debate over whether the Jay family should free the turtle, keep it as a pet or consume it.
The uproar over Goliath's fate began after the News Journal published a story and photos of the turtle in Sunday's newspaper. In the following days, forums at pnj.com were inundated with comments, and the paper fielded a number of phone calls from residents concerned about Goliath.
Stan Kirkland, spokesman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said his office received dozens of calls about Goliath.
"One caller offered to pay the family to release the turtle," he said. "The offer was $500, if they released it back into the river. No questions asked."
Florida law allows a family to keep one alligator snapping turtle. There is no state law that prevents the family from killing and eating the turtle.
"We had very passionate people call who felt sorry for the turtle and wanted it saved," Kirkland said. "We don't have authority to take the turtle because they took it legally. We did issue (the family) a warning (Tuesday) because they kept the turtle alive in an aluminum johnboat."
State law says the turtle's enclosure must be at least five times the length of the shell and two times the width of the shell to meet state requirements. The animal also must have a pool large enough to allow it to submerge.
Alligator snapping turtles became a federally listed species in 1978, but the animal is not endangered or threatened and their numbers are not declining, Kirkland said.
The species was put on the list to denote that there is not much known about the animal, he said.
Gary Phillips, who lives in Brewton, Ala., said it's no different from hunting deer or catching catfish. He also said that there isn't much wasted when a turtle is used for food. The only unused parts are the head and claws.
"A turtle that size would probably feed them a good while," Phillips said, speaking of his father, Jerry, and two younger brothers, who live at the family's Jay home. "You could eat on a turtle half that size all week and have some left."
Catching and eating turtles has been a Phillips family tradition for generations, he said.
"My granny used to catch and eat gopher tortoises to survive, but it's illegal now," Phillips said. "We usually just fry it up with flour, salt and pepper. And you can make gravy from the shell."
Melissa Harrill, 35, has lived in Milton for 30 years and said her husband also grew up eating turtle soup with his grandmother. But Harrill doubts that the Phillips needed to kill "Goliath" for food.
"If they were hungry, you'd think they could have found something else to eat," she said. "You can buy chicken that tastes better than turtle."
http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080808/NEWS01/808080348/1006/NEWS01

PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL (Florida) 07 August 08 Turtle's captors told to build cage - Family can't keep 'Goliath' in boat, state says (Adam Ziglar)
Photo at URL below: Glen Phillips, 15, shows off Goliath the alligator snapping turtle, which Glen and his family have kept in a boat filled with water in the yard of their Jay home. (Emily Garber)
The family who caught a 100-pound alligator snapping turtle and named it Goliath is in violation of state turtle caging requirements.
Last weekend, Jay residents Jerry Phillips and his son, Glen, caught a large turtle on the Escambia River. It has been kept in a shallow pool of water in a johnboat, which is a violation of the state's turtle caging requirement, officials say.
Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission visited the family on Tuesday and served a written warning about the caging requirement. They told the family they have two to three days to comply or they must release the turtle.
"Keeping a turtle in a boat is not adequate," said FWC spokesman Lt. Stan Kirkland. "That clearly didn't meet the rule for caging requirements."
According to state law, turtle enclosures must include a pool of water large enough to allow the turtle to submerge. The caged area must also be at least five times the length of the shell and two times the width of the shell. The pool can't be less than two times the width of the shell and two times the length.
Glen Phillips estimated that Goliath weighs about 100 pounds. Its body is 22 inches wide and 23 inches long. The turtle's head measures 8½ inches long and it has a 22-inch tail, Glen said.
Kirkland said officers would return to the Phillips' residence, but he couldn't confirm when. If the caging requirements still haven't been met, officers could seize the turtle or choose to give them more time to comply, Kirkland said.
"In an officer's estimation, if they're making progress in meeting the caging requirements, the officer could certainly give them more latitude," he said.
Jerry Phillips could not be reached Wednesday.
Phillips, 53, told a reporter Monday that he planned to keep the turtle. Phillips' son, Glen, said the family may eat it.
Under Florida law, residents are allowed to have one alligator snapping turtle, Kirkland said. Kirkland also spoke to the family on Tuesday.
"They didn't indicate what they were going to do with the turtle," he said.
The catch has upset many who say the turtle should be set free.
The FWC received nearly two dozen calls from area residents at its offices in Panama City and Pensacola, Kirkland said.
Someone even complained about the turtle's capture on Craigslist, a online community with job listings, want ads and message boards.
Navarre resident and nature photographer Kenny Wilder said the turtle, because of its size, should be released.
"It would be nice for the father and son to let this one go back," he said. "Since it's so big, just give it some freedom."
Phillips' plans are not clear.
"They said they had seen some of the nasty things on the Internet about the turtle's treatment, and their family," said FWC biologist John Himes. "They had made a decision about what to do but wouldn't tell the officers."
http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080807/NEWS01/808070323/1006
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« Antwoord #3 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:42:16 »



EXAMINER ENTERPRISE (Bartlesville, Oklahoma) 07 July 08 Snapping turtles sent up river: Species reintroduced near Hulah Lake (Susan Hylton Tulsa World)
Copan (AP): You won’t see an alligator snapping turtle basking in the sun atop a fallen log in the Caney River.
But they were there on the muddy bottoms, recently, snapping their enormous hooked beaks.
Ninety juvenile alligator snapping turtles were reintroduced up the Caney River from Hulah Lake in an effort to replenish the vanishing population.
Day Ligon, a biology professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, and Brian Fillmore, a biologist at the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery, pulled each turtle from a tub of beak-pierced bags.
Each turtle was placed in the water by hand, and almost all sank like lead.
“They’re not aggressive at all,” Ligon said.
Just don’t put your finger in front of one’s mouth or you could lose it.
A few times, a turtle would resurface briefly and then vanish in a bubbly descent.
Rebecca Fillmore of the Tishomingo Fish Hatchery, Dan Moore, a graduate student at Oklahoma State University, and Jeff Haas, the manager of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, helped note the water’s depth and temperature.
Ligon said the team would conduct sampling next spring to see how the turtles are doing and how much they’ve grown. Each turtle has a tag in one of its hind legs. With the wave of a scanner, the turtle can be identified.
Brian Fillmore said that the only habitats that still exist for the turtles in Oklahoma are at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Eufaula.
Adults of the species were taken to the Tishomingo Fish Hatchery to reproduce.
Rebecca Fillmore said researchers take the eggs from the female’s nest immediately and place them in an incubator until they hatch.
The turtles released into the Caney River are 3 to 6 years old, but it will be years before they reproduce. This particular species does not reach sexual maturity until 15 to 20 years after hatching, and some of its members can live for more than 100 years.
As predators go, they’re no slouch.
Ligon said the alligator snapping turtle is extremely omnivorous, meaning that it eats both plants and animals, and is important to the aquatic community.
On each of their tongues is something called a lingua lure, which basically means that part of the tongue works as a lure to catch food.
You name it, they’ll eat it, Ligon said.
And humans eat the alligator snapping turtle.
In the 1970s, their meat was sought to the point that it became a species of special concern in Oklahoma, Ligon said.
Those were the days when Campbell’s sold turtle soup and looked to inland turtles after it became illegal to harvest sea turtles.
Male alligator snapping turtles can grow to more than 200 pounds, which makes for a lot of turtle meat.
In the late 1990s, Oklahoma State University graduate students sampled the turtle population and found that the alligator snapping turtle had been totally depleted in most areas.
Ligon believes that the restocking could succeed, partly because of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission’s three-year moratorium on the commercial harvesting of wild turtles in public waters, during which time the turtle population will be studied.
The moratorium came after environmental groups asked the state to stop the commercial harvest of wild turtles because of the threat of depleting their population and the potential consumption of contaminated turtle meat sold to Asian markets.
Turtles are endangered in China, where their meat is considered a delicacy.
http://www.examiner-enterprise.com/articles/2008/07/07/news/news546.txt
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« Antwoord #4 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:43:58 »




Bedankt Karen Todd

THE OKLAHOMAN (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) 05 May 08 3-year ban ordered on commercial turtle harvests (John David Sutter)
The state Wildlife Conservation Commission this morning placed a three-year ban on commercial turtle harvesting in Oklahoma.
The move follows pressure from environmental groups who said the state's nonexistent regulation of turtle trapping could drive species toward extinction and endanger public health.
The ban only covers public waters, not private farm ponds. It protects turtles from being caught and sold, but it remains legal to catch turtles for personal use, and as food.
Commissioners unanimously approved the moratorium. They called it a middle-road approach, and said they would consider banning commercial turtle harvests on private lands at a later date.
Very little is known about turtle populations in Oklahoma.
The director of the Wildlife Department's fisheries division, Barry Bolton, told the commission that little is known about turtles in Oklahoma, and that turtle populations could be depleted by commercial trappers.
"We believe that we have insufficient data to determine the impact of this unregulated harvest," he said.
Bolton said the Wildlife Department will put at least $50,000 toward studying turtle populations in the state, with the studies starting as soon as this summer.
The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups had petitioned the state to enact the ban, saying the harvest puts turtle species at risk and poses a "substantial and eminent" public health threat.
Oklahoma was one of only three states with a virtually unregulated commercial turtle harvest. Turtles are most often caught for their meat, and many of them are exported to markets in Asia.
The petition from the environmental groups said the state's turtle harvest created a public health emergency because many of the state's rivers are contaminated with mercury, which could get into turtles and cause health problems in the people who eat them.
Ron Suttles, a spokesman for the Sierra Club and a former Wildlife Department employee, said the moratorium is a good first step, but that regulations should go further. He urged a ban on commercial trapping on private land as well.
He said "absolutely nothing" is known about hundreds of wildlife species in Oklahoma. Suttles said turtles have very low reproduction rates, so they easily can be put in danger.
Oklahoma is home to a few rare turtles, notably the alligator snapping turtle, which is under government protection.
The state Wildlife Department issues permits to turtle trappers, but the permits allow unlimited harvesting. The trappers self-report the number and type of turtles they catch.
Bolton said the moratorium could hurt people who work as turtle collectors, but noted that no one came to Monday's meeting to speak against the moratorium.
http://newsok.com/3-year-ban-ordered-on-commercial-turtle-harvests/article/3239208/






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« Antwoord #5 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:45:01 »

LEAF-CHRONICLE (Clarksville, Tennessee) 07 November 06 Snapping turtle shells out a lesson for Barksdale kids - 119-pound, 52-year-old snapper wows students (Melissa Tyndall)
Photo at URL below: Kerry Alsbrooks lifts an alligator snapping turtle while showing the animal to Barksdale Elementary students Monday. The 119-pound reptile has been living in Houston County and tracked by Austin Peay researchers for 11 years. (Greg Williamson)
Barksdale Elementary School students crowded outside Monday to learn about the largest recorded alligator snapping turtle in the state.
Scott Sutton and Kerry Alsbooks, who captured the turtle Monday to monitor it, brought the reptile to the school to teach students about the species.
"It's cool," 9-year-old Rashonda Gold said. "When I first saw him looking at me and my friend, I was surprised."
Students jumped, squealed and eagerly asked questions about the 119-pound turtle, but that was just part of educating the students about what may otherwise seem a scary or threatening animal.
Alsbooks, a home inspector, father and amateur biologist, helped get the turtle to Barksdale Elementary because his children attend the school. He has garnered a reputation at the school for bringing in reptiles because he wants to teach children about animals he said are here for a reason.
"We really like to do these sort of things to promote conservation of animals — they are not bad or mean. They are important to protect," Alsbrooks said. "To actually physically see one is just amazing. To see the largest one on record is just a bonus."
Students learned the turtle was a 52-year-old male — something determined by the turtle's size, the length of his tail and layers of skin on the creature.
Female alligator snapping turtles usually only weigh about 40 to 50 pounds.
Students also learned the turtle cannot pull its head into its shell, cuts prey with its sharp, beak-like mouth, makes no sounds and captures fish and other animals using a worm-like lure attachment on its tongue.
According to Floyd Scott, a professor of biology at Austin Peay State University who earned his doctorate at Auburn University, the turtle was first captured by duck hunters on White Oak Creek in 1995 and given to APSU.
The turtle, then weighing in at about 129 pounds, was also hunting ducks.
"We've been in touch with it off and on for 11 years," Scott said. "It was interesting to see this turtle again after so many years. That reinforces the site fidelity that these turtles exhibit — they don't just wander all over the country. They establish a home range."
Scott added the turtle's demand for oxygen is low and it spends the majority of its time completely submerged and at the floor of a body of water.
"This animal, this species, is very aquatic and very secretive. It does not bask on rocks like other turtles. This species is pretty much restricted to our larger rivers and impoundments. You are not going to find this in upland ponds and farms — those kinds of things are not common," Scott said.
While local biologists monitor the turtle's nature by tracking its weight, length, keeping up with any injuries and establishing its moving patterns, there are larger issues at hand. The alligator snapping turtle, while not endangered, is listed by state wildlife agencies as being a "species in need of management" to protect it from becoming endangered in the future.
"I think most people are interested in conserving such an impressive animal," Scott said. "The general person and sportsman are coming around to conservation and are taking pride in the animals out there."

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061107/NEWS01/611070315







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« Antwoord #6 Gepost op: 22 Maart 2009, 11:45:57 »

THE SUN (Jonesboro, Arkansas) 30 July 05 Alligator snapping turtle: Arkansas giant worth saving (Joy B. Trauth and Stan E. Trauth)
 Dr. Stan Trauth uses mouth-to-nose resuscitation to revive an alligator snapper that nearly drowned in a turtle trap.
Jonesboro: We have become accustomed to hearing bad news when it comes to species conservation, but hard work by scientists, conservationists, and government officials is sometimes successful. That is the case with the alligator snapping turtle, one of the world's largest freshwater turtles.
An Arkansas resident, it can also be found across the South from eastern Oklahoma and Texas to northern Florida and along the Mississippi River as far north as Iowa.
However, for some 40-years, a bad-tempered snapping turtle named "Old Bob" was rumored to live in Laguna Lake in Southern California.
Recently, workers dredging the lake snared a 100-pound snapping turtle near a park dam. The alligator snapping turtle is an estimated 50-years-old and 36-inches long. Local officials have no idea how the turtle -- which can live for up to 100 years -- ended up in Southern California.
This creature normally reaches 2-feet in length and over 200 pounds in weight [although there is an unconfirmed rumor of a 403-pound individual being found in the Neosho River in Kansas in 1937].


Bedankt Karen Todd

The alligator snapper is almost entirely aquatic and nocturnal; it rarely basks and apparently leaves the water only to nest. It inhabits medium- to large-sized rivers, sloughs, oxbows, and lakes. Due to its large size, it is usually not found in isolated ponds or smaller lakes as is the common snapper.
The alligator snapper spends most of its time immobile or walking around on the bottom. Alligator snappers have a unique method of attracting food.
Alligator snapping turtles are a perfect example of "sit and wait" predators. They have been known to sit in one spot for over 30 days before moving to another site.
Alligator snappers spend most of their time sitting on the bottom of the body of water with their mouths open wide. In the floor of their mouths is a bifurcated, wormlike tongue that they wiggle back and forth to lure unsuspecting fish into their mouths.
They will eat anything that they actively encounter, however, including carrion, nuts, small mammals, birds, and even other turtles.
When out of their aquatic habitat, alligator snappers mostly gape at their captors and will strike with great speed at a finger or other body part that wanders too close.
The strength and biting power of their jaws has been grossly exaggerated. However, human flesh is much softer than the broom handle that is often bitten in half in local folktales.
Even though alligator snapping turtles are thoroughly aquatic, they have lungs and must occasionally rise to the surface and inhale air. If an alligator snapper or any other turtle is caught in a turtle trap that is totally submerged, the turtle will eventually drown without a way to surface to breathe. It is therefore important for those who trap turtles to be certain one end of the trap is above the water to provide breathing space for the turtles in the nets.
Unfortunately, on occasion the water may rise overnight, and turtles may drown before the trapper comes back to check the nets.
Over trapping has depleted alligator snapping turtle populations, and the alligator snapper is considered a species of concern in every state within its range. Now that it is unlawful in Arkansas to collect or harm this species in any way, alligator snapper populations have a good chance of recovering in this state.
For more information contact the Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University at biology@astate.edu.
Joy B. Trauth is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental sciences and an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences at ASU. Stan E. Trauth is a professor of zoology in the Department of Biological Sciences at ASU.



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« Antwoord #7 Gepost op: 4 Mei 2009, 18:29:42 »

 







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