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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 137, 27th June 2014



1. Czech Republic: 47 endangered turtles found at airport

SOURCE: praguepost.com – DATE: 11 th June 2014

Customs officials at Prague Václav Havel Airport in the Czech Republic, found 47 black-breasted leaf turtles (Geoemyda spengleri) and two eggs in the knapsack of a 47-year-old man identified only as a foreigner on the 6th of June 2014. Black-breasted leaf turtles, also called Spengler turtles, are found in Southeast Asia, particularly in Vietnam, China and to a lesser extent Laos. Employees of Czech Environmental Inspectorate (CIZP), who cooperate with the Customs Administration, determined the species and established that it is included in the list of strictly protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  “The turtles were transported in very miserable conditions without air and were between faeces and rotting leaves, stacked in several layers in plastic boxes. Two specimens were found dead and some of them were in a poor state,” the CIZP said in press release. The rest of the turtles will be taken to Prague Zoo for critical care.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© praguepost.com

2. The Philippines: Chinese fishermen held in Philippines defiant ahead of turtle-poaching trial

SOURCE: scmp.com - DATE: 16 th June 2014

Nine Chinese fishermen held in a Philippine jail on the outskirts of Puerto Princesa, capital of the Philippine island province Palawan, took part in a pretrial hearing on Tuesday for turtle-poaching charges they say they "do not recognise". Philippine police officers say the Qiongqionghai 09063's crew used the territorial dispute between Beijing and Manila over the resource-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as a ploy to avoid prosecution. The nine fishermen from Hainan province face up to 20 years in a Philippine jail for illegally poaching and taking a record number of endangered turtles off the Philippine coast. Police counted 120 live, 234 dead and an unspecified number of chopped up endangered sea turtles on his boat at the time. After a review of the chopped up remains, the total number of sea turtles added up to 555. The turtle trade can be very profitable to local fishermen with some specimen selling as high as HK$6,200 ($800) per head. Sadly, local law enforcement teams do not have the means to completely stop wildlife poaching. This trial also raises concerns in regards to the diplomatic ties that China and the Philippines entertain at the moment.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)


© scmp


© scmp


© apr

3. Philadelphia, the USA: Facebook photo of gunshot turtle leads to charges

SOURCE: pennlive.com – DATE: 21 st June 2014

A man faces animal cruelty charges in suburban Philadelphia after authorities were alerted to online photos of a box turtle that was shot with a gun. The Bucks County Courier Times reported Saturday that the Bucks County SPCA   charged an unnamed 18-year-old, but court records were not posted to the court's database. SPCA humane officer Nikki Thompson tells the paper the photos on Facebook prompted someone to contact her organisation. She also says box turtles are a native species and it's illegal to shoot them. District court officials in Warwick Township told the paper the man faces summary charges. If convicted, the offence carries a fine of $50 to $750.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)

4. Malaysia: Authorities save 1,290 tortoises bound for the pot

SOURCE: thestar.com.my – DATE: 23 rd June 2014

The Kelantan Anti-Smuggling Unit intercepted and seized a lorry laden with 1,290 Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) on Saturday at Kampung Derdap, Tumpat, Malaysia headed for restaurants in Thailand serving exotic food. Mohammad Khairi, State Wildlife director, added that upon inspection, the tortoises believed to be worth at least RM200,000 ($62,000) were found hidden in 160 plastic containers buried under fish containers. He also said the tortoises are protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and would be released either in Kuala Koh National Park or nearby jungles as soon as possible.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

 


© S. Suhaimi

© gov.hk

5. Hong Kong: Turtles returned to the sea

SOURCE: info.gov.hk – DATE: 23 rd June 2014

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) released three green turtles (Chelonia mydas), comprising two juveniles and an adult, and a juvenile hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the southeastern waters of Hong Kong on the 23rd of June 2014. Current weights of the juvenile turtles ranged from 4.05 to 12.85 kg and their shells were from 35 to 47cm in length, while the adult turtle weighed 76.5 kg and its shell was 79cm. All of them were in good condition, indicating that they were ready to be returned to the sea. In Hong Kong, all sea turtle species are protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170) and the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap 586). Of the five sea turtle species found in Hong Kong waters, the hawksbill turtle is relatively rare and the green turtle is to date the only species known to nest locally.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. Green turtle links Costa Rica's Cocos Island with Ecuador's Galapagos

SOURCE: ticotimes.net – DATE: 24 th June 2014

With his 14-day journey from the waters of Costa Rica's Cocos Island National Park to the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador, “Sanjay,” an endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), established the first direct migration link between the two protected areas. Sanjay's migration is the latest piece of evidence linking the green turtles of the Galapagos and Cocos Island, a link that biologists have long suspected due to the populations' genetic similarities. The project' s researchers hope that the new evidence will help encourage the development of conservation programs between protected areas.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

 

7. Costa Rica: Police arrest suspect selling poached turtle eggs

SOURCE: ticotimes.net – DATE: 24 th June 2014

Police arrested a man with the last names Calvo Alvarado on Monday for selling turtle eggs outside of the Río Blanco stadium in Limón, on the country's Caribbean coast. Calvo was caught with 65 leatherback sea turtle eggs, which he was hawking for CRC 1,000 ($1.82). Endangered leatherback sea turtles nest on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast from February to July, and poachers often target them for their meat and eggs. Officials at the Limón police department told The Tico Times that three egg sellers have been arrested so far this season in the municipality, and 485 eggs have been confiscated. More than 2,000 additional sea turtle eggs were taken from poachers along the rest of the coast.

Link to this web article online (English)



© National Geographic

© Public Security Ministry


8. 'Hope spring eternal' : the anniversary of the death of Lonesome George

SOURCE: news.mongabay.com – DATE: 24th June 2014

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the death of Lonesome George, the world's last Pinta Island tortoise. The occasion calls attention to the declines of many turtle and tortoise species, which together form one of the most swiftly disappearing groups of animals on the planet. Since he was discovered in 1972, Lonesome George had always been the last of his kind. Pinta Island tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii), a subspecies of Galapagos tortoises, were wiped out when goats were introduced to the island and decimated their food supply. For Pinta Island tortoises, conservation attention came too little too late. But technological advancements may lend potential – if speculative – options.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

© M. Weston

9. India: Superstition turned turtle at temple

SOURCE: bangaloremirror.com – DATE: 25 th June 2014

A temple, in a revolutionary move, has come forward to end a superstition propagated by TV astrologers that led to death and violence among turtles at their pond. From last Saturday, the Nandi temple has stopped the release of 'blessed' turtles into its pond. People believe that by releasing a turtle, or Koormavatara of Lord Vishnu, they get prosperity. Swamy, one of the temple trustees, and wildlife conservationists are concerned because the small pond was overflowing with more than 100 turtles left by the devout. On Saturday, wildlife volunteers rescued 24 Indian pond terrapins (Melanochelys trijuga), 50 Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) (juvenile-16, sub-adult-18, adult 16), 24 Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) (juvenile-4, sub-adult-13 adult-7), 01 Indian Tent Turtle (Pangshura tentoria), and 01 Black terrapin (Siebenrockiella crassicollis) from the pond.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

10. Scotland: Tortoise was hidden in oven

SOURCE: heraldscotland.com - DATE: 25 th June 2014

A woman who brought two endangered tortoises back from holiday as pets for her grandson has been fined £ 300 ($ 509.79) after being snared in an animal welfare charity "sting". Janice Rennie was caught after she advertised one of the tiny reptiles for sale in a newsagents' window. The smaller of the tortoises had died and the larger one was hidden in a plastic box in the oven when animal welfare workers implemented a search warrant. Rennie, of Glencairn Street, Stirling, pleaded guilty to advertising, offering and keeping for sale two Tunisian tortoises (Testudo graeca nabeulensis) contrary to Control of Trade in Endangered Species regulations. Spur-thighed tortoises (Testudo graeca) are on the red list of endangered species and face a high risk of extinction in the wild, the court heard.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)



© Bangalore mirror


© dailyrecord.co.uk

11. The USA: Underwater Robot Tracks Endangered Sea Turtles

SOURCE: mashable.com – DATE: 25 th June 2014

For the first time ever, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) scientists have tracked endangered sea turtles remotely — using an underwater robot. The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) uses side-scan sonar technology to detect the creatures swimming and resting on the sea floor at a known turtle hotspot near North Carolina. The AUVs expand the range of surveillance because they can access difficult areas without disturbing the sea turtles, who tend to avoid vessels for fear of being struck.

Link to this web article online (English)


© M. Kieffer

 

 
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