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No. 172, 6th March 2015

1. Japan to ban Asian brown pond turtle exports due to sharp drop in population
SOURCE: – DATE: 3th March 2015

The Ministry of the Environment has decided to ban exports of Asian Brown Pond Turtles (Mauremys mutica kami), which inhabit the southern islands of Iriomote, Ishigaki and Yonaguni in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, due to a sharp drop in their population caused by overhunting.
The ministry will slap the export ban from next fiscal year in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It will be the first time for Japan to put an export restriction on a land-dwelling creature that is not subject to protection.

Link to the web article online (English)

2. Canada: Turtle trafficking investigation gets help from Alberta palaeontologist
SOURCE: - DATE: 4th March 2015

Environment Canada announced this week that an Ontario herbal supply company pleaded guilty to unlawfully importing protected species of turtles and tortoises into Canada.
Don Brinkman, a palaeontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada played a key role in the investigation. Brinkman specializes in fossilized turtles and was able to identify several endangered species from several pallets worth of shell fragments packaged in 500-gram bags. He found three kinds of tortoises, all of which are on the endangered species list. The other reptiles he identified as various kinds of Asian turtles, including an Asian Box Turtle (Cuora sp.) that can close up its shell — one he identified from the structure of the shell's unique hinge.
Brinkman said the key to identifying species from shell fragments is "knowing what part of the shell you've got."

Link to this web article online (English)


turtle and tortoise part© D. Brinkman


use K track to smuggle turtle eggs

3. The USA: Suspect tries to smuggle turtle eggs in child's backpack
SOURCE: - DATE: 4th March 2015

Thanks to a tip through the Wildlife Alert Hotline, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers recovered nearly 300 sea turtle eggs from a poacher.
Using a K-9 to track where the suspect had been, officers located a disturbed nest and a Phineas and Ferb backpack full of 299 eggs. Twelve of the eggs were held as evidence and the remaining 287 were returned back to their nests in an effort to allow them to continue to develop and possibly hatch.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Malaysia: Pictures of tourists ‘having fun’ with endangered turtle cause for alarm
SOURCE: – DATE: 5th March 2015

Environmentalists are calling for greater awareness and sensitivity towards wildlife following complaints of tourists manhandling a Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) on Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia. Naturalist and tour guide Irshad Mobarak explained that animals could die from shock due to stress from being mishandled.
Malaysian Nature Society head of communications Andrew Sebastian said the organisation was “shocked and dismayed” that such an incident occurred and called for better enforcement in tourist spots to prevent such incidents. He also urged members of the public to report such acts to the wildlife crime hotline. “Locals and tourists alike should be aware that the Wildlife Conservation Act calls for heavy penalties to be imposed on those harassing animals,” he told The Rakyat Post.

Link to this web article online (English)

manhandling hawksbill turtle
The Rakyat Post

India narrow-headed sostshell turtle
White Star

5. Pakistan: Bid to smuggle ‘largest’ turtle parts shipment foiled
SOURCE:  - DATE: 6th March 2015

A Hong Kong-bound consignment of over 4,000 dried body parts of freshwater turtles was confiscated last week by the customs authorities at Karachi port (Sindh, Pakistan).  This information was shared with journalists at a press conference jointly addressed by a customs official and a Sindh wildlife conservator at the Pakistan International Container Terminal on Thursday (the 5th of March 2015). The dried body parts were identified as those of Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtles (Chitra indica), a critically endangered and protected reptile in the country.

Link to this web article online (English)


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