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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 174, 20th March 2015

1. Singapore: Aquarium shop owner fined S$41,000 for possession and sale of illegal wildlife
SOURCE: channelnewsasia.com – DATE: 18th March 2015

The owner of Wu Hu Aquarium was fined S$41,000 Singapore dollars ($29,566) (in court on Wednesday (the 18th of March 2015) for the possession and sale of illegal wildlife, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in a news release. On the 2nd of April, 2014, AVA said its officers conducted a surprise inspection on Wu Hu Aquarium following a tip-off that illegal animals were on sale in the shop. A total of 22 illegal creatures were found, including sturgeons, paddlefish, newts, clawed frogs and turtles.
A Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) and Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) were also found in Styrofoam boxes at the back of the shop. AVA said the tortoises are critically endangered species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), for which international commercial trade is prohibited. Further investigations showed that all the animals had been imported into Singapore without relevant import permits, AVA said. The animals have been sent to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Link to the web article online (English)

rare tortoise sold in Singaporean shop

© AVA

Bellinger River Snapping turtle
©
T. Lowrey

2. Australia: Bellinger River snapping turtles face extinction from mystery virus on New South Wales mid north coast
SOURCE: abc.net.au – DATE: 18th March 2015

A rare freshwater turtle species may soon become extinct because of a mystery virus in the population on the New South Wales (NSW) mid north coast. Sick and dying Bellinger River Snapping Turtles (Myuchelys georgesi) have been washing up on the banks of the Bellinger River, near the town of Bellingen, since mid-February. The virus attacks the turtles' internal organs, leaving them blind and starving, and most survive only a few days.
So far more than 300 have died as the virus travels upstream. It is estimated there are only a few thousand of the snapping turtles within the river system. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has set up an incident management team to manage the situation, and try and save the species. Deputy Incident Controller Geoff Ross said no turtles had survived the illness.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. India: Rare black spotted turtles seized along India-Bangladesh border
SOURCE: economictimes.indiatimes.com – DATE: 18th March 2015

The Border Security Force (BSF), on Wednesday, seized 97 rare Asian Black Spotted Turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) close to the India-Bangladesh border. The turtles, being smuggled into Bangladesh near the Kalanchi Border Outpost in the Gaighata police station area of North 24-Parganas (West Bengal, India) are valued at nearly Rs 58.20 lakh ($92,864) in the international market. This is the second seizure of such turtles near the International Border this year. On the 29th of January, the BSF seized 185 turtles of this species near Kalanchi. That seizure was valued at nearly Rs 1.11 crore ($177,113) in the international market.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Malaysia: Poaching of sea turtle in Sabah
SOURCE: themalaysianinsider.com – DATE: 19th March 2015

The poaching of sea turtle near Banggi-Balambangan channel is an open secret. 
Contrary to what reported by Berita Harian (the 9th of March, 2015) and Chinese Newspaper Asia Times (the 10th of March, 2015), the Sabah wildlife department (SWD), Sabah parks, maritime agency (MMEA) and marine police was not the first one to discover the carcasses.
Many fishermen saw it months before the 19 carcasses of Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were retrieved from Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia. These fishermen were eyewitnesses of poaching activities who agreed to talk on record with a condition of anonymity.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

5. The USA: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission app to track tortoises in your area
SOURCE: wptv.com – DATE: 19th March 2015

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is showing off its new app, which will help people see where the elusive creatures, Florida Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), live in the area. Biologists want people to become a citizen scientist by downloading the app, taking a picture of the Gopher Tortoise and recording the location. FWC will review it and add them to the interactive map. It's all part of their effort to document where gopher tortoises live and how to better protect them.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. The USA: Tortoise check-ups; more than 100 going up for adoption
SOURCE: fox10phoenix.com – DATE: 20th March 2015

A valley veterinarian is giving check-ups to more than 100 desert tortoises, it's a pretty huge task. It's all in preparation of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's massive tortoise adoption where dozens of tortoises need new homes.
The owner of the hospital is examining every reptiles face, shell, and skin. Each tortoise is teetering on the scale when it gets weighed in. "They want to make sure they're all healthy before they sent them out to new homes," he said. Dozens of the tortoises got check-ups at the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, once they get a clean bill of health they'll go up for adoption in two weeks.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

 
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