Asian Turtle Program
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No. 178, 17th April 2015

1. An Giang province, Vietnam: confiscation of 350 kg of snakes and 120 kg of turtles

SOURCE: - DATE: 5th April 2015

On the midnight of the 4th of April 2015, Customs barch at Khanh Binh border, An Giang province found and confiscated a large number of snakes and turtles being smuggled illegally across the international boarder between Vietnam and Cambodia. The exhibit includes over 350 kg of Oriental ratsnakes (Ptyas mucosa) and 120 kg of turtles. The Customs branch of Khanh Binh border in collaboration with the Forest Protection Department (FPD) Rangers confiscated and are quarantining these animals while they are being identified and dealt with.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

2. Brazil: Remarkable video shows giant river turtle interacting with its hatchlings
SOURCE: – DATE: 6th April 2015

This National Geographic video taken by researchers using a shell-mounted "crittercam," capturing rare footage of a giant river turtle in Brazil's Amazon basin interacting with its hatchlings underwater.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. Vietnam: Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata) is being hunted for its shockingly high prices
SOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2015

Currently, the price of Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle(Cuora trifasciata)is about VND 300 million/kg ($13,800). It appears that when reaching China’s market, the price of this species would be some billions of dong per kg. The species was quite common in Vietnam in the past but since the 1980s Chinese traders have been coming to Vietnam to buy this species, the trade now threatens the species with extinction. According to the story Cuora trifasciata originating from the wild is about VND 300 million ($13,800) while for animals coming from turtle farm it is cheaper (VND 60 million/kg ($2760)). The species is listed in group IB, on Decree 32/2006/ND-CP meaning it is fully protected and any hunting, trade or consumption of the species is breaking national law.

ATP NOTE: The species is also fully protected under Decree 160/2013/ND-CP. This is another example of stories being widely published in Vietnam that seem almost intent on creating demand or increasing hunting pressure while little seems to be done to investigate or prosecute those involved in the trade.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Cuora trifasciata

© R. Wirth

4. Thailand: Three arrested for selling Angonoka Tortoises
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th April 2015

Police have arrested three Thais for having allegedly smuggled Angonoka Tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) to sell at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand. The men were arrested with two Angonoka Tortoises at their shop in Zone D of the Chatuchak Market Saturday afternoon.
The Angonoka Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) a critically endangered species of tortoise endemic to Madagascar. The tortoise is prohibited from international trade by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The tortoise is also listed on Appendix 1 of the directive Natural Resources and Environment Ministry that bans the sale.

Link to this web article online (English)

Black pond turtle

5. Hong Kong officials ask Pakistan to receive 751 smuggled turtles
SOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2015

The Hong Kong authorities have recently sent a request to the CITES management authorities of Pakistan to consider receiving and releasing 751 Black Pond Turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) that were being smuggled into their territory in February this year. The Hong Kong officials that also offered to bear the delivery cost, sources said, had asked Pakistani counterparts to provide information on turtle smuggling in their region.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

6. Myanmar: Rare turtle, thought extinct, reintroduced into wild
SOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2015

A rare turtle thought to be extinct just over a decade ago appears to be making a startling comeback. About 60 Myanmar Roofed Turtles (Batagur trivittata) were released in the wild in the past few weeks, a high point in a seven-year program to revive the green-headed turtles that call the rivers of Myanmar home.
The Myanmar roofed turtle (Batagur trivittata) was believed extinct until 2001, when Platt and U Win Ko found a single shell from a recently killed turtle at a village along the Dokhtawady River. Live individuals were subsequently discovered at a wildlife market in China and in the ponds of a pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar. Those three turtles formed what was called a captive assurance colony. From there, a captive breeding program was started in 2007 by WCS and the Turtle Survival Alliance. Eggs were collected in the wild, and brought to the program where they hatched and the turtles began breeding. The population now numbers 600 at several locations across the country.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Myanmar Roofed Turtle© TSA

Manouria impressa

7. Quang Binh province, Vietnam: Handover the rare turtle species
SOURCE: – DATE: 15t April 2015

At about 11 am, on the 10th of April, 2015, Tran Thi Phuong, Thi Ngoa village (Quang Thuan Ward, Ba Don town, Quang Binh province) found one turtle at the Culture House of Tho Ngoa village. The 1kg turtle is identified as an Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa). She notified forest rangers at Ba Don Forest Protection Station about the case, who in collaboration with the Animal Health Department of Ba Don Town monitored and took care of the turtle. On the 13th of April, ranger officers transferred the turtle to the Centre for Science Research and Wildlife Rescue of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

8. Indonesia: Protected green turtles traded, eaten in Sumba
SOURCE: – DATE: 16th April 2015

Protected Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are being illegally hunted and freely traded by fishermen in Perokonda, Kodi district, Southwest Sumba regency, Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Indonesia for consumption, a researcher says.
Marthin Angga, a member of the 2015 Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia Expedition Team, said researchers had found empty turtle carapaces on Perokonda Beach. He said fishermen often unintentionally caught turtles in their nets when they went to the beach to lay eggs. Fishermen, according to Marthin, sell turtle meat for between Rp 500,000 ($38) and Rp 1,000,000 ($76) per kilogram, while turtle eggs sell for Rp 5,000 ($0.38) each.

Link to this web article online (English)

humped back sea turtle
Focus Taiwan

9. Taiwan: Fisherman snags "humped back" sea turtle off Taiwan’s coast

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th April 2015

A Taitung fisherman caught an unusual looking "humped back" sea turtle in waters off the southeastern coast of Taiwan on Wednesday. The fisherman, Tien Cheng-yung, said he was fishing in waters off Pingtung and Taitung counties when he unexpectedly pulled up a heavy turtle that had an unusually shaped shell. Tien said he shot a video of the creature with the humped back and then released it back into the sea.
Cheng I-Jiunn, a marine biology professor at National Taiwan Ocean University, said the turtle appeared to be a regular Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) species that probably had been raised in captivity or on farm and was later abandoned or had escaped. The unusual shape of its shell may have resulted from living in a small space, which would have forced the turtle to grow "upward," making it appear to be “humped back,” he said.

Link to this web article online (English)


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