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No. 14 & 15, 22nd January 2012

Ha Noi city, Vietnam. The medical treatment for Hoan Kiem turtle

SOURCE: - DATE: 25th January, 2012

The medical treatment of the Hoan Kiem turtle in 2011 was successful and is being called one of “the most striking rescues in 2011”. However, few people know that there are some difficulties behind the rescue. An interview with Dr. Bui Quang Te, leader of the rescue team, gives some insight into the rescue operation. The rescue team's first concern was how to safely approach the turtle because it seemed scared of people coming too close. Worse still, the team was worried that its serious injuries would make the turtle more aggressive and could possibly attack the team once they applied medicine to its skin. To avoid this kind of problem, Dr. Te even thought about holding the turtle in a small tank where the medicine would be mixed into the water. Another concern was that the animal might also be suffering from internal injuries which could be more serious than those which were visible. Possibly leading to a sudden death if the animal was handled incorrectly. Fortunately, after a first check by a veterinarian, it became clear that the animal was in a better condition than everybody thought at first. Apart from the information above, Dr. Te suggested that the turtle probably is more than 100 years old because it reached its maximum size. He suspects that it could survive for a few more decades at best. Dr. Te also implied that the turtle is a different species than the individual in Dong Mo lake, Son Tay district, Hanoi by saying that they could breed the two individuals but their offspring would be infertile.

ATP NOTE: this remains a hot topic in Vietnam where a number of national experts are adamant that the Hoan Kiem turtle must be a different species from Rafetus swinhoei occurring in the same river system which Hoan Kiem lake was historically connected.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

2. Galapagos Islands. ‘Extinct' Galapagos Tortoise Turns Up on Distant Island

SOURCE: - DATE: 12th January, 2012

A type of giant tortoise, observed in the Galapagos Islands in 1853 by Charles Darwin but thought to have been extinct for 150 years, was found alive and well on Isabela Island. This news, from a team of biologists at Yale University, would be welcomed by conservationists, and it adds an ironic twist to Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos tortoise, known as Chelonoidis elephantop us, originally lived on Floreana, one of the islands in the Galapagos chain. Biologists believed that by the mid-1800s, they had been wiped out by whalers, who hunted them for food. So how did the tortoises — unlikely to swim 200 miles en masse — wind up on the wrong island? The scientists' best guess is that whalers, hauling them on board when they stopped at Floreana to find food, threw some overboard near Isabela. Over the years hunters are believed to have taken hundreds of thousands of the animals. From DNA samples, the scientists assume that the current population of 1,600 animals descends from 38 purebred Chelonoidis elephantopus founders. Now, said Caccone, there is the possibility of returning C. elephantopus to its native island. But scientists will want to discuss that very carefully.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

India: 4000 turtles seized, two arrested

SOURCE: - DATE: 10th January 2012

On Monday, 9th of January, approximately 4,000 turtles were seized from a truck when it passed a police station in Auraiyya district, India. The turtles were stuffed in 68 sacks, some in critical condition. The vehicle was on its way to West Bengal. Two persons were arrested.

Link to this web article online (English)


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