The Hispaniolan slider, Trachemys decorata (Barbour & Carr 1940), is a freshwater turtle of conservation interest, endemic to the island of Hispaniola. The species is currently threatened by habitat destruction, hybridization with invasive species, and commercial harvest. However, the consumption of the Hispaniolan slider by human populations has received little attention. During the winter of 2017–2018, we conducted a survey to document the commercial use of freshwater turtles at Trou Caïman, one of the major wetlands in Haiti, based on interviews with 72 people representative of the local community. The strong demand for freshwater turtles from people living around the lake was related to classical uses such as meat consumption, artisanal jewelry, or the pet trade, but also to more-peculiar ones such as cleaning of hand-dug water wells, voodoo ritual, and folk medicine. Our results illustrate the importance of considering the socio-cultural context for designing efficient conservation plans for T. decorata in Haiti. We particularly discuss the pros and cons of developing turtle farming, possibly in conjunction with rice agriculture, as a potential solution to preserve the integrity and future of T. decorata.

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