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No. 182, 15th May 2015

1. China: Artificial insemination gives hope for the world rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei
Source: – DATE: 6th May 2015

On the 6th of May 2015 experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and China's Institute of Zoology artificial inseminated a female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in southeast China's Suzhou Zoo. The successful procedure means there is now hope for recovery in this critically endangered species which occurs in Vietnam and southern China but for which only four animals are currently known in existence.

Link to this web article online (English)


rafetus swinhoei artificial insemination

rafetus swinhoei artificial insemination

rafetus swinhoei artificial insemination
Getty images/ ChinaFotoPress

rafetus swinhoei artificial insemination

rafetus swinhoei artificial insemination

turtle with rope
© D. Islao

2. The Philippines: Alleged captivity of hawksbill turtle in resort probed
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th May 2015

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Guimaras has conducted an investigation on the alleged captivity of a Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Natago Beach Resort in Barangay Sunapsapan, Guimaras, the Philippines. The investigation was to verify a Facebook post by Donna Belle Islao about a turtle that was being tied by a rope to prevent it from escaping.
According to the post, which earned a lot of negative comments from netizens, Islao noticed that the turtle has a hole in its back shell in which the rope was attached to.
However, when the team went to the said private resort, the turtle was no longer there. Maribel Gersabalino, caretaker of the resort, did not deny the post but claimed that the turtle has escaped.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

3. Australia: Distant glow confuses turtle hatchlings
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th May 2015

Sky glow from industry 15 kilometres away can disrupt the sea-finding ability of marine turtle hatchlings off the Queensland coast, a new study has found.  The light, coming from Australia's huge port and city of Gladstone confuses the navigation abilities of Flatback turtle (Natator depressus) hatchlings on Curtis Island, say researchers, in a recent issue of Wildlife Research.
As part of her PhD research, at James Cook University, Dr Ruth Kamrowski found flatback turtles in Eastern Australia were being exposed to the fastest increase in light of any turtles in Australia.
Kamrowski compared relative light levels and flatback hatchling behaviour on Curtis Island and Peak Island off the Queensland coast. And Kamrowski used two different methods to check hatchling sea-finding ability.
Her study revealed that hatchlings on Curtis Island had trouble finding the sea. "At Peak Island, 100 per cent of emergent clutches (nests) oriented correctly towards the ocean," says Kamrowski. "At Curtis island, 20 per cent of emergent clutches had an orientation which could be considered 'severely disrupted'."

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

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evolution graphic use


4. Tortoise approach works best—even for evolution
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th May 2015

When it comes to winning evolutionary fitness races, the tortoise once again prevails over the hare. In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of BEACON scientists centred at Michigan State University found that limiting migrations among populations of bacteria produced better adaptations.
For this study, the team manipulated migration rates of populations of gut bacteria, E. coli. They created a grid of 96 populations and had some amble into neighbouring territory, which simulated slow migration. Then, to recreate speedier migration, they had others that raced all over the grid regardless of distance.
The team found that a population with rampant migration is likely to all get trapped on the same hill, which, more times than not, is not the tallest peak. Why? Because shortly after their summit, beneficial mutations sweep across other populations. This traps the sprinters at the peak, preventing them from climbing other hills. Meanwhile, populations with limited migration will likely take their time and reach a wider variety of peaks.
The tortoises evolve slower, but they can better adapt to their environment because some of the explored peaks may be higher in fitness, having higher reproductive rates, than the peak that was filled by a less-structured, albeit speedier, population.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

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5. Cambodia: Proposed Border Highway Threatens Wildlife in Protected Cambodian Forest
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th May 2015

A new border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia will drive certain endangered animal species closer to extinction if it is built through a protected forest in Cambodia, according to an international environmental group that urges scrapping the highway plan.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called for the 36-kilometer (24-mile) Srea Ampom-Kbal Damrei proposed asphalt road and border crossing project to be cancelled to protect the most endangered species of the Mondulkiri Protected Forest in eastern Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Province, the country’s largest but most sparsely populated province which borders three Vietnamese provinces.
The 4,300-square-kilometer (1,660-square-mile) area is home to 23 mammal, bird, reptile and tree species listed as endangered or critically endangered, WWF said in a news release last month. Many of them have become extinct elsewhere in Southeast Asia because of habitat loss and hunting for illegal wildlife products. The new border crossing and road will seriously fragment the habitat of the 23 species in Mondulkiri Protected Forest, while providing little economic benefit, WWF said.

Link to this web article online (English)

silvered langur monkey

sea turtle
B. Skiba

6. The USA: Smaller satellite sensors help scientists follow young endangered turtles
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th May 2015

Marine biologists have been studying the movement and habitats of Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) using satellite tags for some time. But in the past, they were only been able to follow the movements of adults, because the transmitting devices were too big to attach to younger, smaller turtles. So, the travels of younger turtles are not well understood.
But now, the technology has improved and the transmitters have gotten smaller. Last month, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists outfitted an adolescent turtle named Coco with a satellite tag and released it back into the wild. Coco is the first adolescent Loggerhead to be tracked on the West Coast.

Link to this web article online (English)


7. Canada: Regina's slow-moving turtles surprisingly hard to count
Researchers helping with conservation of turtles native to Regina
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th May 2015

The Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) – native species of Wascana Marsh is being tracked by radio transmitters in Wascana Marsh (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) as part of a two year research project.
Researchers capture the turtles and attach a radio transmitter to their shells. By tracking the turtles, they hope to better understand the turtle's population size, habitats at different times of the year and factors that allow them to survive in Saskatchewan's extreme climate.

Link to this web article online (English)

researcher use radio transmitter
S. Brace

8. India: Turtle conservation: Hatchery inaugurated at Firozpur village
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th May 2015

With an aim to conserve turtles in the Ramganga river, World Wildlife Federation (WWF) - India along with Bareilly district administration and local farmers inaugurated a hatchery in Firozpur village (Bareilly district, Uttar Pradesh, India).
In April this year, the farmers identified turtle nests in their farms and informed the WWF to arrange for its collection. Eight turtle nests were located in the marshy field stretch of Ramganga, covering two districts of Bareilly and Shahjahanpur. Nearly 103 eggs were collected from a stretch of 90 km along the Ramganga. These eggs were transferred to the artificial hatchery on the river bank in Firozpur village on Monday

Link to this web article online (English)


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