"They were almost wiped out in 1960s and ‘70s because so many were harvested for soup"
"Despite its burly stature, spiked back and bone-crushing bite, the alligator snapping turtle needs protection.
The federal government on Monday proposed granting the turtle "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act, a move that could help its recovery in Louisiana and the other Southern states where it once thrived. The species faces serious threats from overhunting, pollution and habitat loss, said Elise Bennett, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.
“They’re the heart of what’s really wild in the Southeast, and that’s what makes their decline so sad,” she said.
The alligator snapper faces a predicted 95% decline over the next 50 years, but the species could go extinct much sooner, perhaps within 30 years, under even the most optimistic predictions, Bennett said."