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No. 126, 11th April 2014

1. Phu Da Commune, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam: A rare marine turtle caught in Tam Giang – Cau Hai lagoon

DATE: 3rd April 2014

On the 3rd of April 2014, Mr. Le Ty, a fisherman in Phu Da commune, Phu Vang district, Thua Thien Hue Province caught a 33 kg marine turtle (Green Sea Turtle – Chelonia mydas) stuck in a fishing net when he was fishing in Tam Giang – Cau Hai lagoon. Chelonia mydas is listed in Vietnam's Red Book and by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered. After receiving the report, the Thua Thien Hue's subdepartment of Aquatic Resource Exploitation and Protection together with local authorities persuaded Mr. Ty to release the animal back to the ocean on the same day.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


2. United States: Stop the harvesting of turtles for food

DATE: 4th April 2014

While turtles have lived on Earth for 250 million years, they are now the world's most endangered vertebrates. Half of the 328 species of turtles and tortoises are threatened with extinction. In Asia, turtle meat and body parts are believed to hold life-enhancing qualities. Rampant consumption has wiped out most turtle species in China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Of 90 Asian turtle species, 67 are threatened with extinction. With Asian turtles becoming harder to find, over the past decade importers turned to the U.S., where wholesale turtle collection is legal in many states. The latest figures show 12 million wild-caught freshwater turtles were sent abroad from U.S. rivers in the five years between 2006 and 2011. Clearly these harvests are leading to population crashes. In response to this crisis, some states (Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee) have banned commercial harvesting of wild turtles entirely. A few others are issuing harvest permits and monitoring the number of turtles being taken from rivers. Still, wildlife traffickers can illegally collect turtles in states where they are protected and claim they were collected in states where harvests are still legal. It's still legal to harvest turtles in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Those states should ban exportation. And on the national level, the U.S. should beef up inspections of outgoing cargo to stop turtle exports.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© Tom Uhlenbrock

3. Doha, Qatar: Ministry of Environment and Maersk Oil Research & Technology Centre save two green turtles

DATE: 8th April 2014 Cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Maersk Oil Research & Technology Centre (MO-RTC) has yielded in saving two endangered green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) on the northern shores of the country. Fawaz Al Suwaidi, Director, the Department of Wildlife at the ministry, said inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection recently found the turtles in Ruwais town. Both had low body temperature turtles usually experience due to cooler waters during the winter. He said the turtles were receiving treatment and rehabilitation services and stressed the need to establish a facility to offer advanced care for turtles. In March 2012, the ministry and MO-RTC signed a MoU for a scientific research project to explore and document the diversity and abundance of marine species in Qatari waters, in particular those in the vicinity of Al Shaheen field.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Tom Uhlenbrock

4. Dungun District, Terengganu State, Malaysia: Terengganu records 30 turtle nestings since January

DATE: 7th April 2014

The Terengganu Fisheries Department recorded about 30 turtle landings in the state since the beginning of January till March this year, for the nesting season. Its director, Abdul Khalid Abdul Karim, said since the nesting season was early this year, turtles laid about 13,000 eggs which were incubated for hatching before being released into the water. He said the eggs take between 50 to 70 days to hatch from the time they are buried for the incubation process. Last year, more than 600,000 eggs were incubated and about 400,000 were successfully hatched.

Link to this web article online (English)


5. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia : Confiscated turtle recovering at marine centre

DATE: 8th April 2014

A Green Sea Turtle which was confiscated from a fisherman in Papar town, is now recovering at Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre. The 64cm long, 7.7kg juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), named after the green colour of the fat under its shell, was malnourished and covered in barnacles, suggesting it may have been encaged. Gaya Island Resort's marine biologist Scott Mayback said they are now collaborating with the Sabah Wildlife Department and Marine Research Foundation to guarantee the best monitoring and treatment for the turtle. They will keep the turtle under observation and treatment for a month, and if healthy enough, it will eventually be released back into the wild. The endangered turtle, identifiable by its single pair of prefrontal scales rather than two pairs as found on other sea turtles, is endemic to the island of Borneo. Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is the first turtle rehabilitation centre in the country, complete with turtle rescue hotline. This is the fourth turtle rescued by Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre, proving that its focus to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles is visibly in motion.

a malnourished marine turtle could also indicate it has consumed man made rubbish and is suffering a blockage.

Link to this web article online (English)

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