Wildlife advocates worry about turtles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Demand for turtles as both a source of food and medicine continues to soar in Asia, and Tennessee biologists and wildlife advocates say the bustling export business needs to be temporarily halted.

Conservationists and food safety groups have petitioned state wildlife officials to stop the commercial collection of turtles in Tennessee until several issues are studied.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission, the governing body of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, is set to discuss the petition in June.

The petitioners want the agency to look at whether the turtles are safe to eat and whether their numbers are declining in the state.

But one official says because Tennessee has little data on turtle populations or their levels of contamination, it doesn't make sense to prohibit their collection right now.

Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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