Priorities for the trade of less charismatic freshwater turtle and tortoise species

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Despite decades of numerous calls for action by policymakers and citizen groups to regulate the biodiversity market, unsustainable trade in wildlife continues to be a leading cause of population declines world-wide (Engler & Parry-Jones 2007; Rosen & Smith 2010). While mainstream conservation attention is mostly focused on the illegal trade of ivory, horns and other products from charismatic species, demand for products from less charismatic species such as turtles has led to multiple forms of unsustainable trade (both legal and illegal). In fact, data illustrate that less charismatic taxa such as reptiles comprise a significant portion of the illegal trade (Rosen & Smith 2010) (Fig. 1). Herein, we discuss the issue of unsustainable trade of less charismatic species, specifically freshwater turtle and tortoise and outline potential solutions.

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