August 2009, the General Inspection Service (AID) of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality confiscated 200 young turtles of the species Chrysemys picta belli (Western Painted turtle) from a trader. This species does not appear on the supplement of the Cites-agreement, but has been admitted to appendix B of the European regulations. There is an import ban on this species since 2003. This ban was not implemented because the species is threatened, but for the threat of an alien invasion of species. The Red-Eared Terrapin has the same status: appendix B, import ban. So, it is forbidden to import the species Chrysemys picta spp into the European Union.
Chrysemys picta belli lives in a large part of the United States and the south of Canada. All in all, there are four subspecies of Chrysemys picta, a terrapin which can grow to 16 to 25 cm as an adult, depending on the subspecies. Males remain smaller. The species lives in many waters with usually a lot of plant growth. In the northern part of their habitat, they hibernate, sometimes even the young hibernate inside the egg.
After the confiscation, the AID contacted the European Studbook Foundation (ESF), to see if any of these animals could be housed. This was not a big problem, after some phone calls, a number of NBSV members and studbook participants of the ESF were willing to give their time and space to give these animals shelter and care. Within 24 hours after the first intake, all animals were housed at their temporary addresses. Pending the conclusion of the procedures of the AID, the young animals will remain in these shelters for the time being.
The ESF remains the owner of the animals after the transfer by the DR/IBG, which means that the animals will be permanently places with studbook participants under the usual ESF-contract. During this action, the ESF and the NBSV has showed their alertness in furthering the welfare of animals.
Jan Boonstra, Chairman NBSV, with the assistance of Harry Rotmans
In behalf of the Chrysemys picta belli a new studbook is started with studbook keeper Cindy Tangerman. Interested people who like to keep these turtles, are invited to contact the studbook keeper.