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No. 183, 22nd May 2015

1. The USA: Ohio dog being trained to protect sea turtle nests
SOURCE: – DATE: 10th May 2015

A project to preserve sea turtles in Hawaii is getting help from a Miami Valley dog and her trainer. Tau, a 2-year-old Australian Cattle dog, is being trained to search for Green (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nests. Atehna Haus, who works with search and rescue dogs in Bellbrook, is training him. Tau’s job, when his training ends in September, will be to prevent predators from eating the turtles’ eggs before they hatch.

Link to this web article online (English)


dog training to protect turtle

bog turtle

2. The USA: Tiny & cute: Rare bog turtle is in trouble
SOURCE: - DATE: 13th May 2015<

Anona Miller checked a muddy mountain rivulet and found nature’s equivalent of that needle in a haystack — a rare bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii). This was an adult male, about the size of an avocado at just less than 4 inches (10.16 cm) long, with a distinctive orange patch on each side of its head. It’s also one of the most troubled, federally listed as threatened because people have destroyed many of its bogs and caught the animals to sell as pets.

The work is part of a two-year, $5,000 study funded by federal money and grants that will track the turtles at about a dozen Appalachian sites split between Virginia and North Carolina, the USA. The idea is to learn more about the habits of North America’s smallest turtle species in order to do things - restore a wetland here, cut brush around a wetland there - that might provide more places for the turtles to live so they can grow in numbers.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. The USA: Officials work to find cause of turtle die-off
Source:  – DATE: 13th May 2015

A rare die-off of about 100 Diamondback turtles (Malaclemys terrapin) has led New York to temporarily ban harvesting of shellfish and gastropods in portions of Long Island.

Newsday reports the turtles from Flanders Bay have washed ashore since late April. Karen Testa, founder of Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, says the majority have been found in Riverhead. The ban affects 4,000 acres off Riverhead, Southold and Southampton.

Testa says the turtles have been sent to Cornell University for testing. The state has collected seven for necropsies. State officials say early tests are inconclusive, but point to saxitoxin as a potential cause. It’s a marine biotoxin produced by algae and eaten by shellfish that can paralyze turtles. But experts say there are elevated levels of saxitoxin every year that don’t cause die-offs.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)


diamondback terrapins die off

© P. Blasl

loggerhead turtle

© B Tech Innovation

loggerhead turtle
B Tech Innovation

4. Turkey: Cyborg turtle gets 3D printed beak after propeller injury
SOURCE: – DATE: 18th May 2015

Loggerhead turtle AKUT3 has been given a state-of-the-art 3D printed titanium jaw after being injured by a boat propeller

With its ultra-strong titanium jaw it looks like a creature from a science fiction novel, but this turtle is the latest animal to benefit from 3D printing technology.

The loggerhead turtle (Carreta carreta) was facing a lifetime in captivity after being hit by a boat propeller that ripped its jaw from its skull in the Mediterranean Sea leaving it unable to feed. It was taken to the sea turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation centre at Pamukkale University in Turkey where staff nursed it back to health by feeding it by hand. But they soon realised that another solution was needed if the turtle was ever going to be able to fend for itself and contacted BTech Innovation to see if a new jaw could be built for the creature, which they named AKUT3.

The Turkish biotechnology company specialises in 3D medical prosthetics and devised an innovative solution to save the turtle from a lifetime in captivity: a 3D titanium jaw.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

5. Vietnam: Marine turtle conservation volunteer program in Con Dao National Park
SOURCE: – DATE: 19th May 2015

IUCN Viet Nam in collaboration with Con Dao National Park has announced the organization of marine turtle conservation program in Con Dao National Park, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Viet Nam. The program will last from early July to end August 2015 to strengthen the conservation of Marine turtle here.

The program is aimed at enhancing awareness of communities about the value and importance of sea turtles by creating an opportunity for them to be involved in marine turtle research and conservation; providing trainings for volunteers to assist the competent staff in marine turtle conservation areas; and building capacity for marine turtle conservation program at sites.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

6. Malaysia: Raising awareness on turtle survival
SOURCE: – DATE: 20th May 2015

Divers and tourists from various countries have come together to catch and tag turtles around the Mabul Island in east coast Semporna (Tawau Division, Sabah, Malaysia) today. The five-day Mabul World Turtle Day event aimed at creating more awareness about turtle survival and the issues surrounding these marine animals is expected to draw more than 60 participants from the country as well as those from China, Taiwan and Singapore.

The event hosted by Borneo Divers and Sea Sports (Sabah) Sdn Bhd would see an array of programmes such as educational programmes for students, beach and underwater clean-up as well as catching, tagging and measuring of turtles on the island.

Group general manager Luke J. Cox said being aware of the issues surrounding marine animals around the islands in Sabah, they have decided to come up with programmes such as this to help reduce and create awareness on conservation.

Link to this web article online (English)


turtle tagging

© The Star

7. Australia: 50-million-year-old turtle fossils discovered in central Queensland oil shale mine
SOURCE: – DATE: 20th May 2015

Well-preserved turtle fossils dating back about 50 million years have been discovered in an oil shale mine near Gladstone in central Queensland. A crew from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs (AAoD) at Winton, north-west of Longreach, has been digging at the Gladstone site, looking for fossils to display at its natural history museum.

AAoD executive chairman David Elliott said they had worked in an open pit and uncovered plenty of bones and fossils for preparation, including a massive bed of turtles.

Mr Elliott said although the turtles were not new to science, they were still important discoveries. "The exciting thing about this deposit is that it is an age that is reasonably rare in Australia, particularly in eastern Australia," he said.

Link to this web article online (English)

50-million-year-old turtle fossils
Australian age of Dinosaurs

man reunited with the turtle
© Columbus Dispatch

8. The USA: Man reunited with turtle he rescued in Vietnam 50 years ago
SOURCE: – DATE: 21st May 2015

Most of the animals were euthanized, but Lowery had another idea for the Vietnamese Pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis): sending it to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Powell, Ohio, the USA).

“I wanted to keep (her) alive and send her back here,” he said. So he did, in 1966. Later named Ba Cu, the turtle was the only one of its species in the U.S. at the time, according to zoo officials.

The Vietnamese pond turtle is 14th on the list of endangered turtles and tortoises, said Saul Bauer, reptile keeper at the zoo. How many are left hasn’t been determined. But he felt confident in saying that, at 50, Ba Cu is the oldest living turtle of its species on record. Normally, Vietnamese pond turtles live about 25 years.

Today, Lowery and Ba Cu met again. Though Lowery, now 72, lives in Pickerington, he doesn’t often visit the zoo, he said, so he was glad to see the turtle.

Link to this web article online (English)

9. The truth about Giant Tortoise

Giant tortoises are not a recent evolutionary innovation and used to be everywhere, not just on islands. It's impossible to age them accurately unless you know when they hatched. They are actually pretty slow. Darwin was probably chasing them.

They're big but tortoises used to be much bigger, and while they may be slow on their feet their minds may be surprisingly quick, Research on the South American red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) (a not-too-distant relative of the giant tortoises in the Galápagos) shows they use landmarks to create cognitive maps of their surroundings. They can also follow the gaze of another tortoise and learn from the behaviour of others.

Link to this web article online (English)

Aldabra giant tortoise
F. Banfi


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