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No. 169, 6th February 2015

1. Vietnam: National biodiversity database takes shape

SOURCE: – DATE: 28th January 2015
The framework of the national biodiversity database, the result of a three-year US$3 million project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), was announced on Tuesday (the 27th of January 2015) in Ha Noi, Vietnam. The database will store nationwide biodiversity data, such as lists of species of fauna and flora. Designed to meet international standards, it aims to provide biodiversity information for decision makers, government officers, researchers and the public.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

National database


2. India: BSF seizes 185 rare Asian Black Spotted turtles from India-Bangladesh border

SOURCE: - DATE: 30th January 2015
The Border Security Force (BSF) seized 185 rare Asian Black Spotted turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) close to the Indo-Bangla border late on Thursday (29th January 2015). The turtles were being smuggled into Bangladesh near the Kalanchi Border Outpost in the Gaighata police station area of North 24-Parganas, West Bengal, India. The turtles are valued at nearly Rs 1.11 crore ($ 180,000) in the international market. The turtles were handed over to forest department officials.

Link to this web article online (English)

black spot turtle

© Reuters

3. Ninh Binh province, Vietnam: US$345 million to build Wildlife National park
SOURCE: – DATE: 31st January 2015

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a master project worth around VND 7,368 billion (US$345 million) for the construction of a Wildlife National Park in Ninh Binh province. 28.8% of the total budgeted amount will be sourced from the State budget and the remainder will come from non-State funding. Under the project, the park will cover over 1,155 hectares in Ky Phu and Phu Long communes, Nho Quan district, Ninh Binh province, Vietnam.
The general objective of the park is to rescue, conserve, store and develop the sources of genes of wild animal species, particularly endangered, rare and precious animals, for scientific research. The park will help rescue and conserve about 3,000 animals belonging to 250 different species, while breeding and rearing animals in semi-natural enclosures.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

4. India: Tortoises struggling for survival in 100-year-old ‘Kachhua Talab’

SOURCE: – DATE: 1st February 2015
In India a few kilometres away from Kanpur city of India lies a temple pond, home to thousands of turtles that are reported to be more than a hundred years old. Commonly known as 'Kachhua Talab', the pond is situated within the 350-year-old Shiva temple premises in Panki area (Kanpur, India). Unfortunately, neglect of the site has resulted in poor conditions which threaten the survival of the turtles. 
ATP NOTE: the species is not clear from the article and the age of the animals is questionable. 

Link to this web article online (English)

5. The Philippines: Recent spate of seizures highlights threat to Critically Endangered turtle

SOURCE: – DATE: 2nd February 2015
A recent spate of poaching and smuggling of Palawan Forest Turtles (Siebenrockiella leytensis) is causing serious conservation concern and driving this Critically Endangered species closer towards extinction. Palawan Forest Turtle found only on the Philippine island of Palawan and is estimated there to be as few as 3,000 individuals remaining. The species faces a range of threats, including habitat loss, and an apparently growing demand in the international pet trade owing to its rarity. In the past two months, there have been 186 endemic Palawan Forest seized by authorities in the Philippines. 

ATP NOTE: an on-going debate on the Tortoise and Freshwater Specialist Group (TFTSG) is discussing the destination for this species in the pet trade. It does not appear commonly in pet trade in Europe or the USA and many have speculated the main destination might be to meet growing demand for exotic pets in Asia.  This seeming growing trend is likely to increase pressure on already threatened species.

Link to this web article online (English)

palawan Forest Turtle

© S. Schoppe


6. Australia: Metals might be linked to turtle deaths

SOURCE: – DATE: 3rd February 2015
Heavy metals might have played a role in the mystery mass deaths of green turtles near a remote North Queensland beach in 2012.
Experts have begun to investigate whether unusually high levels of cobalt, a common by-product of nickel, silver, lead, copper and iron mining, is linked to the stranding and eventual deaths of more than 100 turtles during a three-month period at Upstart Bay, Queensland, Australia in 2012. "The presence of legacy metals in the catchment draining to Upstart Bay, and previous detections of unusually high levels of cobalt in local Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) leads us to focus there," said Colette Thomas, James Cook University research fellow.

Link to this web article online (English)

Jonathan the turtle


7. Meet the 183-year-old tortoise who is the world’s oldest living land creature

SOURCE: – DATE: 3rd February 2015

Jonathan the tortoise, who lives on the British territory of St Helena, is thought to be the world’s oldest living land creature
Jonathan, the Seychelles Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), was brought to the British territory of St Helena, a tiny island in the South Atlantic, in 1882, when he was already mature, meaning that he was at least 50 years old. He is thought to have been shipped from the Seychelles.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

8. Madagascar: Critically-endangered ploughshare tortoises released by Jersey charity

SOURCE: – DATE: 4th February 2015
Twenty critically-endangered Ploughshare Tortoises (astrochelys ynophora) have been released into the wild on Madagascar by a Jersey charity. Jersey's Durrell Conservation Trust said the release of the captive-bred tortoises meant it had now introduced 100 of the animals into the wild.
The charity believes there are approximately 400 ploughshare tortoises in Madagascar and said the scale of poaching still "threatens the future existence of the species". The charity helps to protect the tortoises from smugglers by marking their shells.

Link to this web article online (English)

Ploughshare Tortoises

© Durrell


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