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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 120, 28th February 2014



1. United Kingdom: Legal harvest of marine turtles tops 42,000 each year

SOURCE: University of Exeter online news
DATE: 26th February 2014

A new study has found that 42 countries or territories around the world permit the harvest of marine turtles – and estimates that more than 42,000 turtles are caught each year by these fisheries. The research, carried out by Blue Ventures Conservation and staff at the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation, is the first to comprehensively review the number of turtles currently taken within the law and assess how this compares to other global threats to the creatures. Frances Humber of Blue Ventures and a PhD student at the University of Exeter, who led the research, said: “This is the first study to comprehensively review the legal take of turtles in recent years, and allows us to assess the relative fisheries threats to this group of species. Despite increased national and international protection of marine turtles, direct legal take remains a major source of mortality. However, it is likely that a fraction of current marine turtle mortality take is legal, with greater threats from illegal fisheries and bycatch.”

The researchers collated data for all seven species of marine turtles from over 500 publications and 150 in-country experts. They estimate that currently more than 42,000 marine turtles are caught each year legally, of which over 80% are green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Legal fisheries are concentrated in the wider Caribbean region, including several of the United Kingdom's Overseas Territories, and the Indo-Pacific region, with Papua New Guinea, Nicaragua and Australia together accounting for almost three quarters of the total. The data indicates that since the 1980s more than 2 million turtles have been caught, although current levels are less than 60% of those in the 1980s.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)


Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


Since the 1980s more than two million turtles have been legally caught.
© Peter Richardson


2. Quang Binh, Vietnam: Fisherman catches sea turtle with engraved carapace

SOURCE: dantri.com.vn
DATE: 22nd February 2014

On the 21st of February, a fisherman, named Ho Van Nam (43 years old, Duc Trach Commune, Bo Trach District) caught a 10kg, strange-looking Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) that had red Chinese symbols engraved on its. After finding the turtle in his net, Mr. Nam untangled it and reported the case to the local agency. In the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Nam returned the turtle to the location he had caught it and released it back to the sea.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


FOLLOW UP

SOURCE: vov.vn
DATE: 23rd February 2014

On the 21st of February, Mr. Ho Van Nam had caught a strange-looking Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) with words engraved on its carapace. According to Mrs. Cai Thi Hue, a member of Quang Binh's Han-Nom club (Han-Nom is a written script combining Chinese script with traditional Vietnamese script, today little used in Vietnam), the words engraved on the turtle's carapace are modern Chinese and mean “abundant natural resources” and “Hebei ostrich and land exploitation JSC”. Mrs. Hue said that it is possible that the company mentioned above had released this turtle and it swam from China to Vietnam.

ATP NOTE : The ATP translated this article from Vietnamese to English but also confirms that the Chinese symbols indeed say 'Hebei ostrich and land exploitation JSC', although the word 'ostrich' is not written clearly. There are also symbols on the carapace wishing for good fortune and money in the future.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



© dantri.com.vn




© vov.vn


3. Thanh Hoa, Vietnam: Keeled box turtle in Cam Luong sacred fish stream not listed in the red list of threatened species

SOURCE: vov.vn
DATE: 20th February 2014

On 19th of February 2014, the Department of Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources (Thanh Hoa Department of Agricultural and Rural Development) assembled an inspection team to identify which species the golden turtle belongs to. Finally, Mr. Pham Thanh Long – a member of the Management Board concluded that it is a male Keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii mouhotii) 17cm in length, 12,5cm in width and 680g in weight, a golden brown-coloured carapace, red eyes and an missing left leg. The turtle is not listed in Vietnam's Redbook, so the inspection team decided that the Cam Luong Commune's People Committee and the Management Board of the Cam Luong sacred fish stream are in charge of protecting and taking care of the turtle.

ATP NOTE: Vietnam's principal law on forest protection, the 'Forest Protection and Development Law 2004” stipulates that wildlife cannot be collected from the forest without a permit meaning this turtle was technically collected illegally.

Link to this web article online (English)










© vov.vn



4.
Dong Thap province, southern Vientam: A story on two 100-year-old turtles listening to Buddhist Talk, but earning money

SOURCE: dantri.com.vn
DATE: 25th February 2014

In the Phuoc Kien Pagoda (Giant-Lotus-Leaf Pagoda) in Hoa Tan commune, Chau Thanh district, Dong Thap province, there are three Yellow-headed temple turtles (Heosemys annandalii) and one Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa) which belong to monk Hue Tu, who can tell many extraordinary stories.
Talking to the Dan Tri newspaper's correspondent, Thich Hue Tu claimed that the largest turtle is 101 years old and the second, smaller one is 97 years old. When they were hatchlings, the two turtles were fed only by one specific vegetable and every day, after being cleaned, the two turtles would crawl to the hall of the pagoda to listen to the Buddhists praying. Many visitors, after praying in the pagoda, pet the two turtles and put small change on their carapace.

ATP NOTE: Manouria impressa do not adapt well to captivity and it is unlikely this animals has been at the pagoda long, the claim of maintaining the two turtles for approximately 100 years is also skeptical.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


 


5. 
Los Angeles, California, USA: Solar plants make deserts too hot for tortoises

SOURCE: kcet.org
DATE: 24th February 2014

KCET, an US independent public television station reported to focus on the problems caused for desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizi) – a federally listed Threatened species whose habitat is replaced with renewable facilities. According to Barry Sinervo, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Cruz , current solar projects in the California desert intended to slow global warming, including two projects approved just last week by the Interior Department, could actually make the desert too hot for tortoises to survive past the end of the century. In fact, suggests Sinervo, solar projects' effect on desert climates may speed the extinction of desert tortoises by as much as 50 years. About 95 percent of the desert tortoise and its close relative, the Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) , are expected to die out due to climate change and other factors by the end of the century even in best-case scenarios. KCET emphasises that this fact makes it all the more important that US households limit their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Link to this web article online (English)




© dantri.com.vn


© Sandy Redding/Flickr/Creative Commons License


 
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