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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 140, 18th July 2014



1. Vietnam: Tam Dao rangers released 14 turtles to nature

SOURCE: vinhphuc.gov.vn – DATE: 11 th July 2014

Recently, rangers from Tam Dao National Park (Vietnam) released 14 turtles into wild, including 11 individuals confiscated from a local trader in June 2014 and 3 turtles handed over from People ' s committee in Tam Dao town. According to illustrated photo, there was one Keeled-box turtle (Cuora mouhotii) while the remaining animals were black-breasted leaf turtles (Geoemyda spengleri). This success shows the positive handling of Rangers in Tam Dao National Park for the illegal trade of wildlife at this popular tourist destination. ATP NOTE: In June, on Bulletin No134, Tam Dam National Park was highlighted for its visible wildlife trade, include turtles, and it appears this latest release was as a response to this criticism.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


© vinhphuc. gov

2. Vietnam: Strange turtle witnessed in West Lake

SOURCE: vnexpress.net – DATE: 12 th Jul 2014

At about 8 am on the 12 th of July 2014, a man caught a strange-shaped turtle in West Lake Hanoi. Photos of the turtle can be seen from the following link. ATP NOTE: the turtle is a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) a north American species which is likely in Vietnam due to the food or pet trade. Such escapes of non-native species, particularly aggressive species such as the snapping turtle could pose ecological problems in the future as well as disease introduction risks.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



© vnexpress.net




© morungexpress.com

3. India: 62 live Star tortoises seized from the Dimapur Railway Parcel office

SOURCE: morungexpress.com - DATE: 14 th July 2014

The Wildlife Crime Control Branch under Wildlife Division, Dimapur, seized 62 numbers of live star tortoises (Geochelone elegan) from the Railway Parcel Office, Dimapur on the 12 th of July 2014. Officer-in-charge, Wildlife Crime Control Branch, Ailong Phom, who led the seizure informed that the tortoises were found concealed under fruits in two fruit crates parcelled from Delhi. The trade in star tortoises is banned under Appendix – II of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. The Species is also protected under Schedule IV of Wildlife Protection Act- 1972 which bans its possession and trade.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

4. Phailin shrunk Rushikulya rookery in India

SOURCE: newindianexpress.com – DATE: 14 th July 2014

Cyclonic storm Phailin did spare the State but left the rookery of Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) at Rushikulya river mouth significantly altered leading to a decline in mass nesting this year, a latest study has revealed. The study revealed that all that remains of the sandspit now - post-Phailin - is a narrow strip. The study stated that the turtles avoided the nesting ground due to significant changes in the sandspit which was providing an additional nesting ground. In 2013, around three lakh turtles had arrived for nesting. In 2014, their number fell sharply to about 86,000.

Link to this web article online (English)


© newindianexpress.com


© Wikimedia Commons

5. Indonesia: Police Arrest Alleged Turtle Smuggler in Bali

SOURCE: thejakartaglobe.com – DATE: 15 th July 2014

Police foiled an alleged attempt to smuggle rare green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Bali's mainland to nearby Serangan Island on Tuesday — the latest arrest in a string of turtle smuggling busts to hit the popular tourist destination. A 56-year-old man, identified as Sangkalan, was arrested early this morning after police officers on patrol in Ngurah Rai found 17 turtles inside his pickup truck, Denpasar Police Chief, Sr.Cmr. Djoko Hariutomo said. The turtles were estimated to be more than 5 years old,   given their size. They weighed about 50 kilograms each and measured about 1 meter in diameter, Djoko said.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. The USA: Kia re-homes 27 desert tortoises for new test facility

SOURCE: recombu.com – DATE: 15 th July 2014

Kia spent £ 76,000 ($96,000) on each tortoise to move them to a new home next door. It seems Kia had quite the job to do before it was able to build its super-secret testing facility in the Mohave Desert in south-eastern California. The Korean manufacturer had to find a new home for 27 desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). Part of the agreement with American authorities involved tracking down, re-homing and looking after the protected species, a task that cost Kia close to £ 76,000 ($96,000) a pop. That's a little over £ 2 million ($2.5 million) spent on clearing the 4,300-acre (17,401,482.6 square meter) California Proving Ground. Not only was the process expensive, the tortoises lived up to their slow-moving stereotype. It took five years to move them on, including multiple sweeps of the area to ensure none were left behind prior to construction.

Link to this web article online (English)



© recombu.com

7. India: Eco defects expose Olive Ridley turtle eggs

SOURCE: deccanchronicle.com – DATE: 15 th July 2014

Coastal erosion has been a long-pending environmental issue in Vizag but on Monday (the 14th of July 2014) it exposed a major environmental threat. Hundreds of eggs of Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) lay strewn on the beach, most of them in rotten or damaged condition due to erosion and high tide. The Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs as deep as three feet in the sand but the erosion brought the eggs to surface exposing the truth behind the so called conservation efforts undertaken by the government and non-governmental agencies. Various academics and environment experts have demanded that parts of the beach be declared protected for conservation of the species.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

8. Sea Turtle Tumour Disease is Surprisingly Not Caused by Organic Pollutants

SOURCE: scienceworldreport.com - DATE: 15 th July 2014

For years, researchers have thought that organic pollutants could be contributing to green turtles' susceptibility to the virus that causes fibropapilomatosis (FP), a disease that creates tumours that can inhibit the animal's sight, mobility and feeding ability. Now, though, scientists have found that organic pollutants don't factor into this tumour turtle disease, which could mean further research may be needed to find out exactly what is causing this sickness.

Link to this web article online (English)




© DC


© scienceworldreport.com

9. Bangkok, Thailand -bound flyer caught with 58 tortoises

SOURCE: wn.com – DATE: 16 th July 2014

Chennai airport customs (Bangkok, Thailand) on Monday night seized 58 star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), from a passenger flying to Bangkok. Officials said the tortoises, brought from Andhra Pradesh, India, were concealed in pillow covers inside the man's baggage. The seized reptiles and the passenger were handed over to forest officials on Tuesday. "Seized reptiles were brought from Andhra Pradesh," he said

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

10. The USA: Orange Park girls under investigation after graphic video of gopher tortoise torture surfaces

SOURCE: Jacksonville.com – DATE: 16 th July 2014

The graphic video shows two Orange Park girls burning a small gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), then laughing and cursing as they throw it down the street. Then as they scream in laughter and mock horror, a second video shows the tortoise crushed to death. “His heart came out with a bunch of grass,” the girl with the camera says as she laughs, then kicks the corpse. “He's dead. That's funny.” Uncovered by a Nevada animal abuse group before the girls deleted it from one of their Facebook pages, the two videos are being slammed by animal rights advocates as it goes viral and the girls are being investigated

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

11. Malaysia: Long-held belief driving turtles to extinction, warns researcher

SOURCE: theborneopost.com – DATE: 16 th July 2014

A long-held belief is slowly but surely driving the tourist-drawing turtles to extinction in Malaysia, according to marine biologist Dr Juanita Joseph. Dr Juanita, who is with the Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) of University Malaysia Terengganu, said it was the belief that consuming turtle eggs cure one of asthma and impotence. Dr Juanita said it was difficult to get people to discard the belief and perception they had inherited for ages. However, such a belief would remain a threat to the existence of the turtles, she added.

Link to this web article online (English)

 
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