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No. 150, 26th September 2014

© vietnamplus

1. 127 Vietnam - Animals released into the wild

SOURCE: – DATE: 8th September 2014

Van Don Veterinary Centre officials and local rangers in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh returned 127 wild animals to Ba Mun island in Bai Tu Long National Park on September 5.
The animals, including Leopard Cats (Prionailurus bengalensis), two Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela), two Big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), 103 Malayan snail-eating turtles (Malayemys subtrijuga) and 18 Bengal monitors (Varanus benalensis), had been rescued in July 2014 and were looked after by the Bai Tu Long National Park Wildlife Rescue Centre until their release.

ATP NOTE: Malayemys subtrijuga are not native to the islands or northern Vietnam and their survival is very questionable. Platysternon megacephalum are also not known for the islands.  However, from the photograph of the release it appears to show Elongated Tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) being released on the island.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

2. The USA: Reward increases in killing of tortoise

SOURCE: – DATE: 18th September 2014

Public interest in the recent unlawful shooting of a protected desert tortoise used as part of a research study has raised the reward being offered for information that leads to the case being solved.
In addition to the $500 being offered through the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief, private individuals and organisations  including the Arizona Herpetological Association, Desert Tortoise Council, Phoenix Herpetological Society, Sierra Club, Tucson Herpetological Society and Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group have pledged and will reward an additional $1,850 in the event of a conviction.
The juvenile tortoise, which had a transmitter affixed in 2010, was observed alive on the 18th of August during routine monitoring by the department’s nongame biologists, but was found dead by the biologists on the 25th of August. Investigators believe the tortoise was killed around the 20th of August.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. India: 218 tortoises recovered, one arrested

SOURCE: – DATE: 20th September 2014

As many as 218 tortoises were rescued after a smuggler was arrested by Government Railway Police (GRP) from Kanpur Central railway station in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India on Saturday.
The tortoises, packed in two gunny bags, were being taken to Howrah (West Bengal, India) from Unnao (Uttar Pradesh, India). The arrested youth has been identified as Tipu, a resident of Shuklaganj in Unnao.
Last month also a smuggler was caught with 755 tortoises from the same spot. According to GRP inspector, Tripurari Pandey these tortoises were recovered from platform number four/five.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Vietnam's national TV admits error in airing live turtle beheading on cooking show

SOURCE: - DATE: 23rd September 2014

A Vietnam Television (VTV) channel has admitted it made a mistake in not censoring footage of the beheading of a live turtle so it appeared in an episode of a popular cooking show that was publicly aired last weekend.
Contestant Khanh Phuong and VTV3 – an entertainment channel of VTV – have received much criticism after the beheading was seen clearly in the 10th episode of the second season of the “Vua Dau Bep – MasterChef Vietnam” cooking show which was broadcast on the 20th of September. Due to time pressure and for fear of being eliminated from the competition, Phuong angrily sever the reptile’s head with a knife as it jutted out. According to many viewers, footage of animals being killed for food is often blurred or even deleted in the MasterChef versions of other countries.

Link to this web article online (English)

behead shoftshell turtle tv show

© VTV3

lonesome george


5. Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise corpse

SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd September 2014

Live slow, die old and leave a controversial corpse. That could have been a suitable motto for Lonesome George, the celebrated, centenarian giant tortoise who died in the Galapagos Islands in June 2012. Now, a row has broken out between the Islands and the Ecuadorian government in Quito over where George’s preserved body ought to be kept and displayed.
Earlier this year, George’s body was transported to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it was treated by taxidermists and put on display. George was due to return to the Galapagos in January 2015, to be exhibited at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, where he had lived since being discovered on nearby Pinta in 1971. Researchers had previously believed Pinta Island tortoises to be extinct, after the island’s vegetation – and their food source – was wiped out by non-indigenous feral goats.
However, officials from the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment have pooh-poohed the plan, saying George must instead be permanently displayed in the capital, Quito, where he will be seen by a greater number of visitors. This month, it was announced that a bronze replica would be sent to the Islands. Speaking to El Universo last weekend, Santa Cruz’s Mayor, Leopoldo Bucheli, called the decision “outrageous”, saying: “George is an icon and should return to Galapagos.”


Link to this web article online (English)

6. Bangladesh: New River Terrapin Join Colony in Bangladesh

SOURCE: – DATE: 24th September 2014

During Rupali Ghosh’s most recent trip, where she was accompanied by a team from Save Our Species (SOS), Rupali was interviewing fishermen learned that a local fisherman had captured a wild hatchling back in June, but that it had died. However, she also got word of a potential large female in a neighbouring village. She and the team mobilised and the tip was correct – they found a large (18 kg) female River Terrain (Batagur baska) that was being kept tethered in a private pond as a pet. The turtle's owners reported that they had owned the female for 16 years.
Rupali began negotiations with the turtle's owner, hoping to purchase the female and add her to the breeding colony, where she can contribute to the conservation of her species. After haggling over the price, the family agreed to sell the female to Rupali the next morning. She was removed from the pond and her tether was cut as several neighbours from the village looked on. In a touching moment, the turtle's owner took a moment to say goodbye to her longtime pet before the team moved her into a container for safe transport. The acquisition of this large, beautiful female will bring the number of females in the breeding colony to seven and will further diversify the genetic base.

Link to this web article online (English)


new river terrapin in Bangladesh


7. Assurance Colonies Growth in South California

SOURCE: – DATE: 24th September 2014

Amidst a flurry of construction and renovation that has been taking place at the Turtle Survival Centre (TSC) this summer, animal care and husbandry has remained a top priority. The steadily growing collection at the TSC is now comprised of 421 animals, representing 32 species. A recent spate of hatchlings has been very exciting for everyone involved in the TSA, none more so than for the staff at the Centre.
To date, seven individuals from five species have hatched in South Carolina: one Red-necked Pond Turtle (Mauremys nigricans), two Yellow-margined Box Turtles (Cuora flavomarginata), one Southeast Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis), two Beal’s Eyed Turtles (Sacalia bealei), and one Spiny Turtle (Heosemys spinosa). Cris Hagen, Director of Animal Management, is especially thrilled about the Spiny Turtle that hatched, as it comes from a group of turtles that he has raised since 2004. Though they have laid eggs in previous years, this was the first time that an egg from this group developed.
Aside from hatchlings, the collection has also grown by leaps and bound in recent months thanks to new arrivals at the Centre, many of which were animals that were owned by the TSA, but had been out on loan to TSA members or zoos.

Link to this web article online (English)

8. The USA: Pet turtles pose threat to Montana’s native turtles

SOURCE: – DATE: 24th September 2014
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking those who have pet red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) to turn in the animals. Earlier this year, based on a recommendation from the Montana Exotic Species and Classification Committee, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the classification of the red-eared slider turtle as “prohibited” in Montana. The turtle could potentially establish a population and outcompete Montana’s native painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). The status aims to eliminate the import and sale of non-native red-eared sliders in Montana as well as illegal releases to state waters.

Link to this web article online (English)

© J. Blossom

9. Canadian man caught trying to smuggle 51 live turtles under his clothes

SOURCE: – DATE: 25th September 2014

A Canadian man taped 51 live turtles to his legs and groin and tried to hide them under sweatpants in an attempt to smuggle the reptiles over the Detroit border crossing, according to federal prosecutors in Michigan.
Prosecutors say Kai Xu and Lihua Lin attempted to smuggle several species of North American pond turtles out of the US and into Canada. On the 5th of August, two fish and wildlife agents say they watched Xu disappear behind two semi-trailers in a Detroit parking lot for about 10 minutes before reappearing with, “irregularly shaped bulges under Xu’s sweatpants on both legs”. Xu was later stopped by Canadian border patrol after he drove through the Detroit to Windsor, Ontario crossing.
In an indictment of Lin, agents said they surveilled Xu as he drove Lin to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday the 23rd of September. Lin was bound for Shanghai. He checked two bags, in which fish and wildlife agents say they found more than 200 live turtles, including the protected spotted turtle  (Clemmys guttata).
Both men were indicted on illegal smuggling charges and violations of the endangered species act. The turtles were seized by fish and wildlife agents.

Link to this web article online (English)


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