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A New York man was arrested Saturday for selling turtles in Blount County. 45-year-old Hong Ta Show is out on bond, charged with ten counts of illegal possession of wildlife.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers say Show was selling the turtles at Green Acres Flea Market on Alcoa Highway. The problem is selling, and possessing, live turtles is illegal in Tennessee.


The turtles have traveled a lot in the past few days.

"We confiscated all the turtles. We took them and put them in some water in a container and put a few things in there they might eat, just kind of took care of them for a couple days," said TWRA officer Joe Everett.

It all started when Everett got a tip that someone was selling turtles at Green Acres Flea Market in Blount County.

"Sure enough there was an individual who was selling turtles. He was arrested and charged with possessing and selling turtles," said Everett.

Now those turtles, called red eared sliders, have a new home at Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo in Sevierville. Workers there say this is not the first time they have come across confiscated turtles.

Rainforest's director says the law was inspired by a fear that turtles would spread salmonella. He thinks that fear is unfounded.

"When we go shopping at Wal-Mart or any other food situation there's typically uncooked poultry and eggs, certainly contain at least as much salmonella, if not more, than a turtle," said Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo director Bill Lucey.

But the turtles do not seem to mind being contraband. They are just happy settling in to their new home.

"We can certainly house all thirty plus of them together for quite some time, and hopefully we can find permanent homes for them at some zoos a little further south that maybe able to keep them outdoors year-round," said Lucey.

Workers at Rainforest Adventures say they are thinking about putting in a year-round exhibit there so they could keep all the turtles.

Show is due in court later this month.



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