Twelve turtle species were selected as priority species: These priority species include five aquatic or semi-aquatic turtle species (Clemmys guttata, Dermatemys mawii, Emydoidea blandingii, Glyptemys insculpta and Malaclemys terrapin); four gopher tortoise species (Gopherus agassizii, G. berlandieri, morafkai, and G. polyphemus); and three box turtle species (Terrapene carolina, T. nelsoni and T. ornata). Four of these species naturally occur in Canada, ten occur in the United States, and six occur in Mexico. Only T. carolina ranges into all three countries.
The global conservation status of the priority species, as assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), ranges through Critically Endangered (D. mawii); Endangered (C. guttata, E. blandingii and G. insculpta); Vulnerable (G. agassizii, G. polyphemus and T. carolina); Near Threatened (M. terrapin and T. ornata); Least Concern (G. berlandieri); and Data Deficient (T. nelsoni). Gopherus morafkai has not been assessed on the current IUCN Red List.
In 2014, the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group drafted provisional reassessments of some of the priority species. These reassessments indicate that at the next formal Red List update, the status of G. agassizii is likely to be changed to Critically Endangered; G. Polyphemus to Endangered; G. morafkai and M. terrapin to Vulnerable; and G. berlandieri to Near Threatened.
Trinational trade and enforcement training workshop to support the legal and sustainable trade in turtles/tortoises:
this workshop will bring together researchers, managers and enforcement staff from Canada, Mexico and United States to share information about freshwater turtle and tortoise science and trade (both pet and meat trade) for the 12 priority species included in the Action Plan for North America on Sustainable Trade in Turtles. Participants at the workshop will also establish research and management goals, revise and finalize a priority species list, and develop or revise a policy for securing turtle conservation.
In Canada, C. guttata and the Nova Scotian population of E. blandingii are considered Endangered. Glyptemys insculpta and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population of E. blandingii are considered Threatened. These species are protected under provincial legislation throughout their Canadian distribution. Terrapene carolina is considered Extirpated.
In Mexico, D. mawii is considered Endangered, G. agassizii is Threatened, and T. carolina, T. ornata and T. nelson are all Subject to Special Protection.
In the United States, D. mawii is listed as Endangered and the northern population of G. agassizii is listed as Threatened, under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The southern population of G. agassizii (now G. morafkai) is listed as Threatened (Similarity of Appearance). The level of state protection for these species varies between jurisdictions. All Gopherus species are protected from collection for commercial or personal purposes by the laws of each state in which they range.
The North American trade in priority turtle species primarily involves live animals. The dynamics of that trade are somewhat different in the three countries, and vary between the different species.
|Clemmys guttata||Spotted turtle|
|Dermatemys mawii||Central American river turtle|
|Emydoidea blandingii||Blanding’s turtle|
|Glyptemys insculpta||Wood turtle|
|Gopherus agassizii||Agassiz’s desert tortoise, Mojave Desert tortoise|
|Gopherus berlandieri||Berlandier’s tortoise, Texas tortoise|
|Gopherus morafkai||Morafka’s desert tortoise, Sonoran Desert tortoise|
|Gopherus polyphemus||Gopher tortoise|
|Malaclemys terrapin||Diamondback terrapin (turtle)|
|Terrapene carolina||Eastern box turtle|
|Terrapene nelsoni||Sierra box turtle, spotted box turtle|
|Terrapene ornata||Western box turtle, ornate box turtle|