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No. 163, 26th December 2014

1. Vietnam: Second massive confiscation of dead marine turtles in central Vietnam

SOURCE: – DATE: 20th December 2014

Tonnes of dead marine turtles were seized in a warehouse in Phuoc Dong Commune, Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam on the 19th of December. Within one month, Khanh Hoa authorities seized tons of dead marine turtles in two locations owned by a prolific wildlife trader who reportedly collected animals from fishermen along Vietnam’s central coast. This case represents the single largest marine turtle crime in Vietnam's history. 4.4 tons of dead marine turtles from the first raid on the 19th of November have not been identified, and hundreds additional marine turtles confiscated from the second raid (the 19th of December) are still being kept at the crime scene because the local authorities have not yet got the resources to deal with the confiscation.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)


second massive confiscation
Nguyen Chung

2. Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam: Seize a car transporting wildlife

SOURCE: news.zing – DATE: 23rd December 2014

On the 22nd of December, Thua Thien – Hue Provincial People’s Committee sanctioned Mr. Tran Van Luc and Mrs. Phan Thi Kim Tuyet (Phu Loc, Thua Thien – Hue) VND222 million ($10,380) for illicit trading the wildlife. Earlier, Provincial Environmental Police (PC49) seized 56.7kg of wildlife including 7 individuals of Elongated Tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) (IIB), one Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa) (IIB), 23 Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) (IIB), Two Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) (IIB) and one King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). Forest Protection Department of Hue city released the confiscated wildlife into the Phong Dien Nature Reserve in Phong Dien district, Thua Thien Hue.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. One extinct turtle less: Turtle species in the Seychelles never existed

SOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2013

The turtle species, the Seychelles Black Terrapin (Pelusios seychellensis) regarded hitherto as extinct never existed. Scientists at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Dresden discovered this based on genetic evidence. The relevant study was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
The genetic analyses have shown that this supposed Seychellois species is in reality another species, the West African Mud Turtle (Pelusios castaneus), which is widespread in West Africa. "The species Pelusios seychellensis has therefore never existed," adds Fritz. "In fact, for a long time researchers were amazed that the supposed Seychelles turtles looked so deceptively similar to the West African turtles. But due to the great geographic distance, it was thought this had to be a different species, which is why the assumed Seychelles turtles were also described as a new species in 1906."

Link to this web article online (English)


new fishing net trial


4. Australia: New Fishing Net Trial to Reduce Turtle Deaths

SOURCE: – DATE: 24th December 2014

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is proposing to undertake a trial in Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia to reduce the incidence of marine turtles drowning in recreational crab catching gear.
The proposed trial will require witches hats (fishing equipment) and some crab traps used in Port Stephens to be modified to limit unintentional interactions of turtles with this gear. DPI Acting Director Recreational and Indigenous Fisheries, Cameron Westaway, said monitoring data in Port Stephens since 2011 has shown a relatively high incidence of turtle drowning in recreational crab gear compared to other areas. The trial would also require fishers to reduce the entrance size of collapsible rectangular crab traps, which will still enable crabs to enter the trap but restrict entry of non-target species such as turtles.

Link to this web article online (English)

mystery of turtle bone

© J. Poole

5. The USA: Turtle bone found in 1800s had been missing its other half -- till now

SOURCE: – DATE: 25th December 2014
Two halves of the same turtle's arm bone were discovered almost 200 years apart, according to a new study. 
A fossil miracle? Totally.
You can see pictures of the two halves in the gallery above, as well as an artist's rendering of the giant sea turtle (with a human diver for scale).
Scientists believe the bone belonged to lived 70 million to 75 million years ago, in a shallow sea that covered what is now central New Jersey. Once the researchers had the whole bone in hand, they were able to determine that the turtle it belonged to was massive -- probably 10 feet long from tip to tail.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. Hawaii, USA - Environmental DNA used to look for invasive turtle species

SOURCE: – DATE: 25th December 2014

In the Hawaiian Islands, USA, endemic Goby Fish are being eaten toward extinction. Not by people but by an invasive turtle species, the Chinese Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle (Palea steindachneri) is endangered in its native Vietnam and China but is thriving in its new home. A new scientific technique, environmental DNA is being used to identify in which streams the species occurs. With eDNA the presence of a species in a water body can be determined by analysis of water samples for DNA of the target species. Crowdfunding has been used to source funding for the eDNA project.

Link to this web article online (English)


Lawson in the lab

© G. Lawson


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