Will America's Turtles Be Eaten Into Extinction?
Overcollection could lead to the collapse of wild populations, especially in turtle-rich Louisiana.
Anyone wanting a gourmet meal in the early 1900s in the United States could always count on finding one special dish: turtle.
Whether served as soup or steak, turtle meat made an appearance everywhere from presidential dinners to the first transcontinental trains. It became so desirable that trappers began wiping out diamondback terrapins, alligator snapping turtles, and other species from U.S. wetlands to satiate demand. But by the 1920s the turtle craze began to fade, and populations began a slow rebound.
Now turtle lovers have reason to worry all over again. Demand has soared in China, where they’re sought as pets, as food, and as traditional medicine, said to boost everything from the immune system to sexual prowess. By around the