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Amid Virus, Florida Wildlife Authorities Issue No-Take Order On Freshwater Turtles

Softshell turtle. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is prohibiting the take or transport of certain freshwater turtle species. 

The executive order is aimed at conserving the turtles as the agency investigates a virus sickening them.

The Turtle Bunyavirus has been detected in Florida softshell turtles, peninsula cooters, Florida red-bellied cooters, yellow-bellied sliders and red-eared sliders. 

The sick turtles show signs of lethargy, swollen, closed or sunken eyelids and discolored softshells. The turtles also may have trouble breathing and swim irregularly.

The virus has been detected in Brevard, Collier, Indian River, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Putnam and Seminole counties, although there have been reports throughout the state. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began investigating the virus in 2018.

Permitted activities may continue, including the purchase and transport of turtles from registered breeders. Floridians also are encouraged to bring sick turtles to rehabilitation facilities. 


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »

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