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No. 110, 13th December 2013

1. Quang Ninh province, Vietnam: 340 turtles confiscated

DATE: 7th December, 2013

On the 3rd of December, 2013, the police of Ha Long City, Quang Ninh province, discovered a car transporting 340 turtles (total weight 191kg). Officials found 68 Elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata), Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis), Impressed tortoises (Manouria impressa), Striped-necked leaf turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii), Keeled box turtles (Cuora mouhotii) and 272 big headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum). The owner of these turtles, residing in Thanh Hoa city, was later prosecuted.

ATP NOTE: According to Education for Nature of Vietnam, all animals originated from Laos, 162 animals were found dead and were incinerated later by the police. No further information available about the remaining animals.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


2. Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam: A green sea turtle released back to sea

DATE: 10th December, 2013

On the 9th of December, 2013, a man named Vinh residing in Cam Hai Dong commune discovered and caught a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) on Bai Dai beach, Khanh Hoa province. Mr Nguyen Ngoc Tan, the owner of a restaurant on the same beach, after hearing the news, along with police of Cam Hai Dong commune, came to Vinh's house and encouraged him to release the turtle back to the sea. Finally, in the late afternoon of the 10th of December, the turtle was released. According to Mr Tan, it weighed about 80kg. Mr Tan was also the man discovering a leatherback turtle which came to shore to lay eggs in June, 2013.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© K.Nam

3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Release of 35 animals back to the wild

SOURCE: – DATE: 6th December, 2013

According to information provided by Mr Le Xuan Lam, manager of the Wildlife at Risk (WAR) Rescue Centre in Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, 35 wild animals (24 king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), 6 turtles -unknown species , 2 painted storks (Mycteria leucocephala), a civet and a wildcat) were released to Lo Go – Xa Mat National Park on the 6th of December. The cobras were confiscated by the Ho Chi Minh City Police on the 11th of November and then transferred to the rescue centre. Other animals released were rescued by WAR in other wildlife trade cases.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


4. California, USA: Desert tortoises - Study finds declining numbers in Joshua Tree, links to drought

DATE: 13th December, 2013

Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) can survive for more than a year without drinking water, but a new scientific study has found that the animals are threatened by prolonged and increasingly frequent droughts. Researchers studying a population of desert tortoises in Joshua Tree National Park discovered a dramatic decline in their numbers in recent years, and determined that the trend is closely linked to successive years of drought. The findings indicate the tortoises could disappear from parts of the Sonoran Desert based on climate models that predict a hotter and drier future for the region. Predators also appear to be a factor. During prolonged droughts, predators such as coyotes and kit foxes seem to shift their diets to tortoises because other types of prey, including rodents and rabbits, decline in numbers when they have fewer plants to feed on. The researchers found dead tortoises that appeared to have been attacked by predators, with broken shells, tooth marks or missing limbs. Based on climate models, the range where tortoises live will likely shift and drought stress will probably grow for many of the animals, especially at lower elevations. While birds and other types of animals may be able to shift their habitats to higher elevations over time, desert tortoises typically are attached to their home ranges and spend their entire lives in a single area. In some areas, it seems like they'll just die out.

Link to this web article online (English)


5.  Bhubaneswar City, India: Odisha plans webcasting mass nesting of Olive ridley turtles

DATE: 6th December, 2013

The Odisha government is exploring possibilities of webcasting the annual mass nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) on the Odisha coast. Odisha houses 50 per cent of the total world population of the Olive Ridley turtle and about 90 per cent of the Indian Population of sea turtles. "It is expected that the webcasting of this unique event will bring world wide attention to Odisha and the conservation of Olive Ridley Turtles. . Broadcasting the mass nesting will educate the public about Odisha's conservation efforts concerning the species as well as promote and regulate ecotourism in the area ", a senior official said after a review meeting presided over by chief secretary J K Mohapatra on the 6th of December. With the sea turtles reaching the state's coast for mass nesting, the state government has taken a series of steps for protection and conservation of the rare animals. Reviewing the progress, Mohapatra directed officials to involve local communities, community based organizations and NGOs in the conservation and protection activities. Making the nesting turtles a priority , the state government has already imposed a ban on fishing for boats or trawlers within 5 km off the coast. As a result of these protective measures, the number of mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha coast has increased constantly over the years from 35,000 in the year 2001-02 to 694,000 in 2012-13.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Marilyn Chung-The Desert Sun

© Samay Live -

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