These baby turtles confiscated from wildlife traffickers are now safe in their new home at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.
The young Wood, Blanding’s, and Loggerhead Musk Turtles are part of a shipment of more than 200 hatchlings intercepted by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Turtles were bound for export to China, where they would feed the demand for turtle meat, exotic pets, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Thousands of turtles and tortoises are sold illegally every day in markets throughout China and Southeast Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, states that up to 50 percent of Asian Turtle species are now Endangered, and that number is rising. In fact, tortoises and freshwater turtles are the most threatened of any major group of terrestrial (land-dwelling) vertebrates – more than mammals, birds, or amphibians.