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No. 119, 21st February 2014

1. Atlantic Ocean: Satellite tracking identifies risk zones for leatherback turtles

SOURCE: – DATE: 18th February 2014

A new study reveals that the last large populations of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries.
Researchers used data from satellite transmitters attached to turtles to track their movements across the Atlantic Ocean. These movements were overlapped with information on high pressure fishing areas to identify where the turtles are most susceptible to entanglement and drowning. Between 1995 and 2010, a total of 106 leatherback turtles were tracked by satellite in the Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans and also during these years, more than four billion hooks, equivalent to 730,000 hooks per day were set through the entire Atlantic Ocean by industrial fisheries.
“This study demonstrates the need to take action at a regional policy level,” said Aimée Leslie, global cetacean and marine turtle programme manager of WWF International. “The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) has a unique opportunity to use this data to assess the impacts of fisheries under their watch.”

Link to this web article online (English)

© Jürgen Freund - WWF-Canon

2. Hanoi, Vietnam: Rafetus swinhoei surfaces at Hoan Kiem Lake during the cold winter days

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th February 2014

On the 16th of February at 2pm, Hanoi's Hoan Kiem turtle (Swinhoe's softshell turtle - Rafetus swinhoei) , also called ‘Cu Rua' by the Vietnamese, appeared on the surface of the Hoan Kiem Lake near the Hanoi Post Office. It was a cold winter day but some students enjoying a picnic were lucky to take pictures of this rare event. Soon many people flocked to the lake's bank to watch ‘Cu Rua'. However, after several minutes, Cu Rua sank back into the water.

ATP Note: the Rafetus swinhoei at Dong Mo lake has also been observed surfacing and basking a number of times in January and February 2014, most likely taking advantage of the odd break in the cloud and sunlight to warm up at this cold time of year in northern Vietnam

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


3. Danville, Virginia, USA: Dead turtles found on Dan River bank after coal ash spill

SOURCE: – DATE: 17th February 2014

Pictures a Danville fisherman took of two dead turtles (unknown species) on the Dan River bank have been shared more than 1,000 times online. The pictures come in the wake of 82,000 tons of coal ash leaking into the Dan River from a Duke Energy site. Lawson said the river is his second home. He fishes there at least four times a week and knows the wildlife and the water. He said Duke Energy's coal ash spill is already changing things on the Dan River. Last Tuesday, Lawson was at the boat ramp near Schoolfield Dam in Danville when he found two turtles dead in two different locations on the river bank. “One turtle was at the dam up on the bank about two feet out of the water. And the other turtle was located by the boat ramp about two feet up out of the water on the bank. And he was on his back. The other one was on his belly,” explained Lawson.

Link to this web article online (English)


Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA   : Tulsa Zoo now home to nine baby Aldabra tortoises

DATE: 19th February 2014

The Tulsa Zoo has new baby tortoises to add to their facility. According to a news release, nine Aldabra Giant tortoises (Geochelone gigantea) have hatched. The release states that the Tulsa Zoo is the only Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institution that has an Aldabra tortoise breeding program, successfully hatching 109 since 1999. The Zoo says you can see several of the tortoise hatchlings in the Conservation Centre. Visitors can see the tortoises start out at 50 grams and watch them grow in their new exhibit.

Link to this web article online (English)


Islamorada, Florida, US: Sea turtles released after rehab in Keys

DATE: 15th February 2014

A male and female loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), rehabilitated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, have been released off the island chain. “Gizmo” and “Kristi” swam into the water simultaneously with many of the roughly 200 spectators playfully shouting Valentine's Day wishes. Gizmo, a sub-adult turtle, was discovered last October suffering from emaciation and a head wound. The reptile was treated with antibiotics, lactulose, vitamins and honey wound care. Kristi, an adult loggerhead, was found entangled in a fishing trap line and received physical therapy on her back flipper as well as antibiotics and vitamins. The release marked the launch of a cooperative venture between Save-A-Turtle, a Keys-based turtle protection organization, and the Wyland Foundation.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Aaron Goodwin - Tulsa Zoo


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