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No. 162, 19th December 2014

1. The Philippines: 7 live, 140 chemically preserved hawksbill turtles found in Palawan

SOURCE: – DATE: 7th December 2014
The Philippine Navy in Palawan announced Sunday that it had recovered 140 chemically preserved marine turtles hidden and buried in the shores of a coastal village in Balabac town, Palawan, the Philippines awaiting shipment into the turtle black market trade.
The marine turtles, all Hawksbill species (Eretmochelys imbricata), were wrapped in plastic bags filled with the preservative formaldehyde and buried in the sands in Balabac, said Lt. Ariesh Climacosa, spokesman for the Naval Forces West (Navforwest).
Seven live turtles were also recovered in a secluded mangrove area. Authorities decided to free the turtles immediately after they were recovered at the port of Balabac.

Link to this web article online (English)


2. Nicaragua: Major comeback for sea turtles: Highest reported nest counts in Nicaragua

SOURCE: sciencedaily – DATE: 11th December 2014
A Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) team in Nicaragua reported today a dramatic increase in nesting of critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) including the highest nest counts since a conservation project began there in 2000.
The total nest count for Hawksbill Turtles in the project area in Nicaragua's Pearl Cays region has increased some 200 per cent from 154 in 2000 to 468 in 2014. Of the areas monitored, poaching rates have decreased by more than 80 per cent. Poaching in 2014 was one of the lowest in project history at approximately five per cent. Nest success has averaged approximately 75 percent this season, with over 35,000 hatchlings going to sea as of the end of November.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. The USA: Cape Cod Mystery: A Surge of Stranded Turtles

SOURCE: – DATE: 12th December 2014
This year has witnessed a flood of the usual trickle of stranded turtles at Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, the USA and nobody seems to know why.
Since mid-November, volunteers on turtle patrol at Cape Cod Bay have found nearly 1,200, almost all young Kemp’s Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), the most endangered of marine turtle species. This is almost three times as many as in the previous record year, and many more times the number in an average year. More turtles are being found every day. Most of them have survived, but hundreds have not.
The stranded turtles, typically 2 to 3 years old and each of them between the size of a dinner plate and a serving platter, have stretched the abilities of the veterinarians and volunteers who rescued them, and the capacities of aquariums as far away as Texas to care for the survivors until they can be released.

Link to this web article online (English)

Cape Cod mystery© K. Szymczak

Gopher tortoise

© S. Coward

4. The USA: Tortoise may be on fast track for endangered listing

SOURCE: - DATE: 13th December 2014
The scaly but somehow cute Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) may be on the fast track for the endangered species list. The Gopher Tortoise is one of nearly 150 animal and plant species proposed for the next round of Endangered Species Act additions, which is overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Link to this web article online (English)

wildlife slaughterhouse

© Sai Gon giai phong

5. Binh Phuoc province, Vietnam: Local authorities ignored large wildlife slaughterhouse?

SOURCE: – DATE: 15th December 2014
Two Binh Phuoc-based establishments Bình Hoa (Phước Thiện ward, Đồng Xoài provincial town) and Long Nga (Phú Thạnh ward, Bù Gia Mập district) were discovered last week as the largest wildlife slaughterhouses in the southern region. At the Binh Hoa slaughterhouses, Forest Protection Department (FPD) region II observed 8 King Cobras, 2 Leopard Cats, 3 Monitors, 10 Turtles and many other live and frozen wildlife. Questions have been raised about the authorities’ inaction as the Long Nga establishment is only 300m from the Phú Riềng ward People's Committee and Binh Hoa establishment is 5 minutes on motorbike from Binh Phuoc FPD. However, these two establishments have been keeping, trading and slaughtering wildlife for years without checks from the local authorities.
ATP NOTE: As shown in the photo, the turtles might include one Elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), one Orange-headed Temple Turtle (Heosemys grandis) and the others are Leaf turtles (Cyclemys sp).

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

6. The USA: A rescue mission to save turtles in the California drought

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th December 2014
The turtles were acting weird. Elizabeth Lake is home to one of the largest populations of Southwestern Pond Turtles (Clemmys marmorata pallida). A so-called "sag pond" on the San Andreas fault, the lake is usually 1.5 miles long and about 23 feet deep. But with the state staggering through a drought that could last years, half of it has dried up, and where there is water, Brad Shaffer, director of the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, and his research associates estimate it's only a foot or two deep.
With so much of the fresh water lost to evaporation, what's left is highly concentrated with minerals and very salty. And that has left the turtles in bad shape.
So they mobilized, collecting 60 turtles from the arid lakebed and transporting half to the Turtle Conservancy' s captive breeding facility in Ojai, and the other half to UCLA, where Shaffer and his team set up a reptile refugee camp on the roof of the botany building.

Link to this web article online (English)

Elizabeth Lake

© U. Heise

tortoise friendship

© AuDi Yu

7. Taiwan: Helping a friend back on his feet, tortoise-style: Children cheer on as creature stuck on its back is painstakingly nudged upright by its mate

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th December 2014
There are times when we all must admit defeat and reach for a helping hand.
And when this tortoise flipped over on its shell, it was lucky enough to have a supportive friend to help him get back up again.

The tortoise was caught on camera upside down, wobbling on his shell and helplessly waving his feet in the air. Fortunately, another tortoise comes along to lend a helping shell to the situation.

Link to this web article online (English)

8. Malaysia: TED technology helps save our turtles

SOURCE: – DATE: 17th December 2014
The poaching of turtle eggs and large adult turtles by Chinese and Vietnamese fishing boats threatens the very existence of marine turtle but accidental capture in commercial fisheries is arguably the greatest threat faced by sea turtles in Malaysia.
Quoting studies by the Marine Research Foundation (MRF), its conservation officer, Ong Fang Sing said some 3,000 to 4,000 sea turtles a year are lost to shrimp trawl fisheries in Sabah.
However, thanks to the TED (Turtle Exclusion Device) technology, turtles are now excluded from fishing nets "because the TEDs allow a fisherman's catch to be retained while turtles are allowed to escape back into the open ocean."

Link to this web article online (English)

TED technology helps save sea turtles

© Daily Express

rare sea turtle with GPS device found

© D. Ngoc

9. Vietnam: Rare sea turtle found in Hue

SOURCE: – DATE: 17th December 2014
On the 17th of December, when fishing at the area of Chan May port (Thua Thien – Hue, Vietnam), one fisherman named Ho Duc Lam found a rare sea turtle 90 cm in length and 50 kg in weight. On the turtle’s carapace a GPS tracking device was mounted and an identification tag on its flipper (coded CN0662 and characters UNI+86 13637592937). The turtle belongs to Cheloniidae family, and is likely to be a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas).  Local authorities were immediately notified and the animal transferred to the Chan May Border station.
Also, recently, 9 rare sea turtles have been found in Thua Thien Hue. With the view of conserving rare sea turtle species, Thua Thien Hue’s Sub-departmentofExploitationandProtection ofFisheries Resources kept these turtles and guided the border forces how to care for them to release them back in the wild at a suitable time and into a favourable environment.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

10. The USA: Hundreds of smuggled turtles intercepted at Anchorage airport

SOURCE: - DATE: 17th December 2014

Inspectors with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service made an unusual discovery at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Alaska, the USA in September: more than 200 live baby turtles.
Because of the young age of the turtles, and the way they were being shipped, about half of the animals have died, according to Nicole Abeln, the Anchorage Museum's animal care technician, tasked with caring for the turtles.
Most of the turtles belonged to species that are protected from illegal poaching and export, according to Fish and Wildlife officials. The reptiles were stuffed into boots, hidden away inside luggage bound for China, according to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, one of the facilities to receive some of the animals.

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle smuggler in Anchorage airport

© L. Holmes

11. The USA: Shore students get turtle protection bill launched

SOURCE: – DATE: 17th December 2014

The slow and steady efforts of students at a New Jersey Shore environmental science school to protect turtles are about to pay off.
They have managed to get state legislators to introduce a bill to make it illegal to catch or take Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) from the wild, and to require the state to investigate ways to protect the population. The bill would remove terrapins from the state's game list, ending a confusing regulatory situation that once had them listed as a species of special concern, but also had them on the list of animals approved for hunting. The bill is awaiting hearings in two legislative committees.

Link to this web article online (English)


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