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No. 181, 8th May 2015

1. Canada: Ontario wind farm halted by endangered turtles crossing the road
SOURCE: - DATE: 20th April 2015

A turtle that insists on crossing a road has put a stop to a massive wind-energy development in Eastern Ontario.
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that a 324-hectare, nine-turbine wind farm proposed for the south shore of Prince Edward County puts a population of endangered Blanding’s turtles (Emys blandingii or Emydoidea blandingii) at risk of dying out in that region’s wetland. The risk is posed not by the wind farm itself but by 5.4 kilometres of roads to and from the site. Experts said the turtles, which range widely as part of their natural life cycle, would inevitably try to cross those roads, exposing them to vehicles, predators and human poachers.
The Court of Appeal ruling means the case now goes back to the environmental tribunal to decide what should happen with the project, including whether an alternative plan can be permitted that takes the turtles into account. The company involved, Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP, had proposed at an earlier stage to close the road to public access.

Link to this web article online (English)

Blanding's turtle
The globe and mail

Guishan turtle shaped island
© Internet

2. Taiwan: Turtle Island recognized for looking like turtle
SOURCE: – DATE: 30th April 2015

Tourist website When on Earth has listed 12 naturally-shaped "cool islands" around the world that when looked from above, resemble various objects such as a crocodile or a helicopter. Taiwan's Guishan Island made the list for its turtle-like shape and stunning view, reports our sister paper China Times.
Guishan or Turtle Island ("Turtle Mountain" in Chinese) looks like a giant turtle floating just off the coast of Yilan in northeast Taiwan. It is Yilan county's largest island and the only one to be populated. The island is also home to the only active volcano in Taiwan and has been a popular destination for whale-watching in recent years, said the website.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. The UK: New zoo exhibit dramatically displays real threat to Asian turtle
SOURCE: – DATE: 4th May 2015

Usually animal pens in zoos are designed to resemble a species' native habitat: lions in sprawling savanna, pandas in bamboo forests, and crocodiles in mangroves. But a new pen at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)'s London Zoo is meant to dramatically highlight not a species' habitat, but it's biggest threat. Here, the Critically Endangered Annam leaf turtle (Mauremys annamensis) lives in a replica of a Vietnamese kitchen complete with butchering knife and woks.
"We've gone to town on the new Annam leaf turtle exhibit here at ZSL London Zoo, as we want our visitors to really understand the threats facing these animals," said Ben Tapley, the team leader of the Reptile House at ZSL London Zoo. "Providing a great habitat for these beautiful turtles, with water for them to swim in and a secluded nesting area hidden behind a carefully positioned wok, the creative exhibit tells a serious story."
The Annam leaf turtle, much like many other Asian turtles, is hugely threatened by overhunting for its meat, which is considered a delicacy. The species is only found in Vietnam.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Mauremys annamensis

© B. Tapley

diamondback terrapin

© W. Parry

4. The USA: Shore students hope to speed up turtle protection bill
SOURCE: – DATE: 4th May 2015

Students from a Jersey shore environmental science school helped get lawmakers to speed up action on a turtle protection bill that had been moving as slowly as, well, a turtle.
The students at Manahawkin's Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science got a state senator to introduce a bill in December making it illegal to take Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) from the wild. But it hasn't gone anywhere since, prompting the students to attend Monday's hearing before a senate committee.
After hearing from five students from the school's Project Terrapin, the senate environment and energy committee approved the bill and sent it to the full state senate for an as-yet unscheduled vote.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. The USA: Researchers urge caution when sea turtles caught with hook and line
SOURCE: – DATE: 6th May 2015

Researchers who monitor the annual sea turtle nesting season along Georgia’s coast said the occurrence that a sea turtle bites a baited hook was no surprise to them. Instances of anglers reeling in sea turtles have actually been on the rise recently as the number of turtles making their way to Georgia’s coast seems to have been increasing over the past several years.
Anglers are urged to be careful when removing a hook whether from threatened Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) or any other species of sea turtle.
Terry Norton, veterinarian and director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, said just last week he had to sedate a turtle to remove a hook that had been swallowed. Simply trying to pull the hook out without the proper expertise can be fatal, he said.

Link to this web article online (English)

Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
J. Ho

man riding a tortoise

6. China: Chinese zookeeper sacked for letting tourists ride giant tortoises and poking them with SCREWDRIVER so that they would move 
SOURCE: – DATE: 6th May 2015

Photographs purporting to show a tortoise being prodded with a screwdriver into giving a child a ride on its shell have caused outrage among Chinese animals rights campaigners.
A series of images posted on Tuesday on Chinese social media site Weibo showed the animal being ridden by a tourist, with the poster claiming the tortoise was crying and prodded with the screwdriver to make it move. The pictures were reported to be taken at Haicang Wild Animal Park in Xiamen city in south east China. 
The tortoise is reported to be one of two Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) - diplomatic gifts given by Mauritius authorities to China.
The zookeeper has now been sacked and authorities are investigating, the People's Daily Online reported.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

7. The USA: House approves enforcement of turtle law
SOURCE: – DATE: 7th May 2015

The Louisiana House on Wednesday approved a bill to repeal a state law preventing Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents from enforcing federal laws that require shrimp nets to include escape ports for sea turtles.
State representatives, who unanimously approved House Bill 668 in a 98-0 vote, said the measure arose from boycotts of Louisiana shrimp by national environmental organizations that claim shrimp nets annually kill over 50,000 sea turtles, all of which are considered endangered and threatened.

Link to this web article online (English)

8. Juvenile invasive red-eared slider turtles negatively impact the growth of native turtles: Implications for global freshwater turtle populations

Invasive species are a significant cause of biodiversity declines on a global scale with novel species interactions often causing ecological damage through predation or competition. Red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) have been introduced to wetlands throughout the world and have negatively impacted native species, particularly other species of turtles. In our controlled feeding experiments in mesocosms juvenile red-eared slider turtles negatively impacted the growth of juvenile red-bellied turtles (Pseudemys rubriventris), an IUCN near threatened species and a Pennsylvania threatened species, through exploitative competition for limited food. In mixed species experimental treatments, in which food resources were abundant, juvenile red-bellied turtles grew significantly faster and ate more food than juvenile red-eared slider turtles. In mixed species experimental treatments, in which food resources were limited, red-eared slider turtles ingested more food, gained mass faster, and maintained body condition while red-bellied turtles lost body condition.

Link to this web article online (English)


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