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Small Critter, Big Problem: Protecting the Pearl River Map Turtle in Mississippi

March 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 10200

Issue: 3

Author: Kristina Alexander

Mississippi has 47 animal species federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. That list includes all types of animals, from whales to mollusks, but it does not include the Pearl River map turtle (Graptemys pearlensis). This is notable because the Pearl River map turtle is considered endangered or perhaps critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and trade of the map turtle is restricted by international treaty—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—at the request of the United States. This Comment examines the existing protections for the turtle—state, federal, and international—to demonstrate why ESA protection is still needed to prevent the extinction of this species.

Kristina Alexander is a Senior Research Counsel with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program located at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Previously, she was a Legislative Attorney focusing on natural resources issues at the Congressional Research Service.

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