Kentucky man illegally sold large numbers of turtles bound for China

"Eastern Box Turtles are protected from commercial trade in every state in which they naturally occur, but with their colorful markings, they are valued in the pet trade, with China and Taiwan as particular destinations, said Jordan Gray, a biologist with the South Carolina-based Turtle Survival Alliance.

The turtle is increasingly a species of concern for conservationists. Taking turtles from the wild degrades natural heritage and can hurt the viability of particular turtle populations, Gray said.

Federal authorities have charged a Kentucky man with illegally trafficking in turtles, which are valued as pets in China.

Christopher Cool, of Jackson County, allegedly told a friend he was making big money selling turtles."

Read Bill Estep's article about this case in the Lexington Herald Leader, HERE.