Feds Seek to Protect Map Turtles in 4 Gulf States, Georgia

NEW ORLEANS—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it is proposing threatened status for the Pearl River map turtle, seeking to grant added federal protections to an at-risk species found only in Louisiana and Mississippi. “These native freshwater map turtles are at risk and need our help,” regional director Leopoldo Miranda-Castro said in a news release. The agency said it also would seek protection for the closely related Pascagoula map turtle, found only in Mississippi, and three other species found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee because they look like the Pearl River turtle. Without protecting the other species it would be difficult for enforcement agents to stop people from catching and selling Pearl River map turtles—one of the main threats to the species, according to a preview posted a day ahead of its planned publication Tuesday in the Federal Register. The “threatened due to similarity” status would …

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