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Author and journalism professor Peter Laufer toured the globe to dive deep into the world of turtles. He shares his findings in colorful anecdotes from his new book.Laufer holds the James Wallace Chair at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. He has a rich history as a radio talk show host, international correspondent for NBC News, and the author of more than 20 books on an array of topics.
Following his remarkable previous book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies, Laufer leads his readers on a worldwide adventure in Dreaming in Turtle: A Journey Through the Passion, Profit and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures.
In this conversation, Laufer explains that the book is really about the people who are drawn to turtles: as pets, food, pricey collectibles, contraband in black markets, curative potions, and spiritual icons.
We talk about Kai Xu, who was caught and jailed for smuggling dozens of turtles in his pants over the US-Canada border at Detroit, and Keith Cantore, who was busted in a sting operation fronted by another trafficker who sought a reduced sentence in exchange for setting up Cantore. Laufer takes us to Costa Rica, where the protection of sea turtle eggs is a daily battle, and chronicles his personal relationship with a turtle he adopted named Fred.
Along the way, many assumptions and impressions you may have about turtles will be challenged in this fascinating and fun conversation.