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No. 101, 11th October 2013

1. Bangladesh: More good news for river terrapins in Bangladesh

DATE: 9th October, 2013

There is much reason to celebrate in Bangladesh with the recent discovery of two additional Sundarbans Batagur, or Northern River Terrapins (Batagur baska). The first was a healthy adult female that was discovered by Rupali Ghosh (Turtle Survival Alliance) in a private pond. This beautiful female was living on her own in the small village pond, but has since been added to the breeding colony managed at Bhawal National Park, bringing the number of females in that group to six. Here she will be able to contribute to the genetic diversity, and ultimately survival, of this critically endangered species. On the same week, Rupali also recovered another wild caught hatchling, discovered by fishermen. This is the third hatchling found this year – huge news considering that this species was considered to have no wild breeding populations remaining. Rupali and her team will continue their grassroots work in the area, visiting with fishermen and villagers in an attempt to locate the breeding population and protect the area. If the habitat is suitable, it may represent a potential future release site for this species as the breeding program continues to flourish.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Turtle Survival Alliance

2. Climate change causes turtles to travel 45 miles in search of new habitats, study finds

SOURCE: – DATE: 8th October, 2013

A number of North American turtle species have been forced to seek new habitats as a result of climate change, according to a study which looked at data from over 300 published studies on 59 turtle species. The study found that just one degree of either warming or cooling leads turtles to shift their geographic ranges an average of 45 miles. These shifts have resulted in some turtle species finding appropriate new habitats, while others have been pushed into unsuitable areas. "By studying how turtles responded to these climate cycles, we can learn about regional differences of the impact of climate change, how climate change differently impacts species, and how climate has influenced evolution," said Michelle Lawing, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and co-lead author of the study. The 300-plus published studies integrated into this new study cover turtle physiology, genetics and fossils. Researchers created models incorporating 320,000 years of climate change cycles, a time period during which the planet went through great temperature variations and three glacial-interglacial cycles. The turtles species hit the hardest by climate change were found to be those in the deserts, lakes and temperate forests and grasslands in the Central and Eastern United States. Turtle species along the Pacific Coast were more resilient to climate change, as were turtles in the tropics, Mexico and the Western United States. While turtles have been coping with climate change for hundreds of thousands of years, study co-author David Polly of Indiana University said that it isn't as easy for today's turtles to just pick up and go somewhere else. "It is more difficult for modern turtles to do that with today's managed waterways and agricultural and urban landscapes," said Polly.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Flickr: cyanocorax

3. Quang Ngai province, Vietnam: ATP erects awareness signboards for local communities living near the endemic Vietnamese Pond Turtle

SOURCE: - DATE: 4th October 2013

The Vietnamese Pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) is endemic to Central Vietnam, and does not exist anywhere else in the world. Within Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province, a small, fragment population of the species survives making the site one of the only areas where the species still remains. With plans to establish a Species Habitat Conservation Area (SHCA) and Turtle Assurance Colony (TAC) for breeding and conservation, it is also a focal district for conservation. On the 3 rd of October 2013, two large awareness signboards were erected in prominent positions near markets in Binh Khuong and Binh Minh communes of Binh Son district. Additionally, fifteen small boards were hung in local schools, in the people's committee building and local culture houses. The signboards were developed by ATP and Education for Nature of Vietnam (ENV) to highlight the importance of the species and what local communities can do to help protect these rare, yet unique Vietnamese turtles.


4. Australia: Slow and steady for 50 years

DATE: 9th October 2013

Up to 70 people gathered in a marquee at the Ellen Brook Nature Reserve in Upper Swan (Western Australia) last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the No.4 Western Swamp Tortoise. The Western Swamp Tortoise is found only in a limited range on the Swan Coastal Plain and is Australia's most endangered reptile. No. 4 was marked on October 2, 1963, after the species, believed to be extinct, was rediscovered. “She was the fourth Western Swamp Tortoise to be tagged in the world, she was an adult then and now she is about 65 years old. She has apparently been breeding which is wonderful as she is so old,” Friends of the Western Swamp Tortoise chairperson Jan Bant said. Mr Albert Jacob, Environment Minister, said the State Government recently allocated $500,000 (10.542.500.000 VND) of State Natural Resource Management funding over three years to continue monitoring and implementing recovery action of the Western Swamp Tortoise.

Link to this web article online (English)


5.  Hai Phong city, Vietnam: Large amount of ivory and turtle shell seized

DATE: 8th October, 2013

On the 3rd of October, the Customs Department at Hai Phong port KV3 inspected a shipment of the Hai Phong Trade Services and Import-Export Limited Company and found more than 2 tons of ivory and hawksbill sea turtle shells (Eretmochelys imbricata). The bill of lading said that the shipment contained “processed seashells”. The case is now being further investigated.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© AFP/Getty Images


6. An Giang province, Vietnam: Sea turtle released back to the sea

Follow-up Bulletin No. 99

SOURCE: – DATE: 6th October 2013

Mr Nguyen Thanh Sang (An Giang province, Vietnam), in early 2013, had caught a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and successfully taken care of it with the food for soft-shell turtles. A newspaper reported that the An Giang Department of Fishery Resources Protection had visited Mr Sang and identified the turtle as one of the five endangered sea turtle species listed on the Red List of Vietnam. As suggested by the authorities, Mr Sang agreed to release the turtle in Ha Tien town of Kien Giang province.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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