From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

Letters endorsing the addition of
alligator snapping turtles, American softshell
turtles, map turtles, timber rattlesnakes,
eastern diamondback rattlesnakes,
and sailfin lizards to the list of
animals protected under Appendix II of the
Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species, and supporting the
move of gila monsters and beaded lizards
from Appendix II to Appendix I, must by
October 11 be received by the Chief, Office
of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive,
Room 750, Arlington, VA 22203; fax 703-
358-2276. All three turtle species and both
snake species are jeopardized by export to
Asian meat and traditional medicine markets.
Recorded exports of map turtles, for instance,

believed to be a fraction of the total, rose
from 673 in 1989 to 37,233 in 1993. Gila
monsters, found in the U.S. southwest, beaded
lizards, native to Mexico and Guatemala,
and sailfin lizards, native to the Philippines,
have recently become fashionable pets in
Japan. Prices of up to $1,300 apiece are
apparently encouraging the illegal capture and
sale of wild specimens.
Necropsies on green sea turtles
found dead of f i b r o p a p i l l o m a t o s i s in Hawaii
and Florida have discovered a previously
unknown retrovirus that may be the causative
agent, Cornell University College of
Veterinary Medicine researchers James and
Rufina Casey, Paul Bowser and Sandra
Quackenbush announced on July 31.
Eight giant tortoises died on El
Chato island in the Galapagos during midAugust,
and nine more became critically ill
with an unidentified disease, symptoms of
which resemble those of hemorragic
fever––but the latter is known only in primates.
Ecuadoran authorities kept El Chato
under tight quarantine. Of the 15 known
Galapagos giant tortoise species, four are
extinct; one is down to a single male representative;
and all 10 of the rest are considered
critically endangered.
The black legless lizard, known to
inhabit just 40 acres at Ford Ord, California,
when nominated for an Endangered Species
listing, may not get the listing because
experts now believe they inhabit 15,000 acres
of the base plus parts of seven nearby towns.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service on September 3 withdrew a proposed
ESA listing of the Barton Springs salamander,
because under an August 13 agreement, the
State of Texas has “committed to expedite
developing and implementing conservation
measures needed for the species.”
Leatherback sea turtle nesting
dropped along the southern and western
coasts of Mexico by up to half this year, and
leatherbacks didn’t even appear in Florida,
according to the World Conservation Union.
The WCU fears this may indicate that
leatherbacks have dropped below the numbers
they need for viable reproduction, and have
begun the slide toward extinction.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles left five
nests on Padre Island, Texas, and two nests
in Florida this year. Except for seven nests
found on Padre Island between 1979 and
1985, the turtles were previously known to
next only at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.
Hurricanes Fran and Bertha
reportedly destroyed at least 230 loggerhead
sea turtle nests along the Carolina coast.
Encouraged by governor Lawton
C h i l e s, the Florida Labor Department is
spending $79,483 to train 80 out-of-work
commercial fishers to catch, process, and
package jellyfish––the staples of the sea turtle
diet––for export to Asia. Similar promotion
of mullet-catching 20 years ago eventually
brought the collapse of the stock that last year
obliged Florida to ban gillnetting, the reason
the 80 fishers became unemployed.
Brazil in mid-August legalized the
sale of meat from captive-bred Amazonian
and yellow-spotted turtles, protected since
1967 but now so commonly farmed that the
Brazilian government expects to see about
300,000 a year on the market.

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