Feds put five turtle species on the ESA map

By Michael Doyle | 07/10/2024 01:29 PM EDT

The Pearl River map turtle and four other similar turtles found in the South are now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

A Pearl River map turtle

A Pearl River map turtle. Cris Hagen/University of Georgia/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory/Courtesy of USGS

The Fish and Wildlife Service extended Endangered Species Act protections Wednesday to the Pearl River map turtle and four other map turtles found in Southern states.

Citing threats that range from poaching to reservoir operations, the federal agency published the announcement that the turtles will be designated as threatened.

“The science that the Service has gathered on the Pearl River map turtle indicates it could become endangered in the near future,” acting FWS biologist Luke Pearson said in a statement, adding that “these native freshwater map turtles are at risk and need our help.”


The FWS estimates that about 21,000 Pearl River map turtles remain in the wild.