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No. 186, 12th June 2015

1. Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam: rotting animal organs and wildlife found in car - 27 Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) confiscated.
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th June 2015

On the 9th of June 2015, Ninh Binh province’s Market Control Department and functional agencies in northern Vietnam inspected Mr Van Khoi’s car travelling from Da Nang in central Vietnam towards Hanoi in the north. Upon investigation, they found 14 boxes containing rotting and smelling animal organs weighing nearly 1 tonne. The origin of the cargo is still unknown and the driver was hired to ship the load to Hanoi. They also found 4 pangolins, 1 Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle (Palea steindachneri), 27 Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum). According to the article these animals had been sent from Ms Nguyen Thi Nam of Quang Nam province, both the pangolins and Big-headed turtles are fully protected under national law in Vietnam and keeping, trading or transporting them without the proper paperwork is illegal.

ATP NOTE: On the 11th of June 25 Platysternon megacephalum and a single Palea steindachneri were transferred to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, two Platysternon had died prior to being transferred. The remaining animals are in poor condition and being cared for at the centres quarantine facility.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

2. China: Endangered turtle traders get suspended prison terms
SOURCE: – DATE: 5th June 2015

Two Chinese fishermen have been fined and given suspended prison terms for trading endangered sea turtles.

He Junting and He Junduan, captain and chief engineer of the ship Qionghaiyu 0318 registered in Qionghai city, Hainan Province in south China, were convicted by the Sansha Islands Court on Thursday of acquiring 24 sea turtles from Philippine fishermen on the 11th of October 2014. They gave their Philippine counterparts three packages of rice, three boxes of cooking oil and three boxes of biscuits in exchange for the animals, which are under government protection.

He Junting was sentenced to three years in prison with a reprieve of four years and He Junduan was sentenced to six months in prison with a reprieve of one year. They were also fined 5,000 yuan ($817 U.S. dollars) and 1,000 yuan ($1634) respectively.

Link to this web article online (English)

record setting western painted turtle

© Government of Saskatchewan

3. Canada: Record-setting Painted Western Turtle found in Regina
SOURCE: – DATE: 5th June 2015

Saskatchewan province in Canada may not normally be known for its turtle population, but researchers just stumbled upon two of the biggest ever recorded, and they were found in Regina's Wascana Marsh, Saskatchewan.

The record find is a female Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta). Her shell measures 26.6 centimetres. "As far as we can tell, this is the largest Western Painted Turtle ever recorded," said University of Regina graduate student Kelsey Marchand in a release. Her discovery came just days after finding another near-record turtle. The turtles were carefully measured by researchers, their DNA taken and both were fitted with miniature radio transmitters. They were released back into the marsh near where they were captured. 

Link to this web article online (English)

4. The USA: Sea-turtle rescuers: Greatest recovery returned to sea
SOURCE: – DATE: 8th June 2015

They lifted Buck out of the crate to set him on the beach and the huge Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) drew oohs from the crowd that had lined up to watch. Nobody thought that Buck — possibly poisoned by toxins and unable to paddle its flippers well enough to stay right-side up — would ever return to the ocean. Buck was admitted to South Carolina aquarium’s sea turtle rescue hospital in July 2014, depleted and lethargic, flapping its flipper so erratically it would turn itself over in the tank. That meant it had a neurological problem. Then staff learned it had cataracts.

The loggerhead was one of three sea turtles released after treatment Monday. What happened to them is a reminder of the importance of the work. Bohicket, a Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was found with its digestive system crammed full of five different types of plastic. McAdoo, another loggerhead, had been struck by a boat propeller and lost a flipper to a shark.

Link to this web article online (English)

loggerhead turtle released

© B. Nettles

turtle trapping impact


5. The USA: Turtle trapping impact debated
SOURCE: - DATE: 9th June 2015

While the amount of turtles harvested is increasing, there isn’t a universal consensus on the threat to their habitats or existence.

State wildlife officials sent a proposal to Gov. Terry Branstad in February that would have limited the trapping season for certain types of turtles, but the governor hasn’t yet given the approval needed to send the proposal to the Iowa Natural Resource Commission. The proposal, which would limit the trapping season of wild painted, smooth and spiny softshell and snapping turtles from the 16th of July to the 31st of December to prevent the decline of the population, as those species have a mating season that is typically in the late spring.

In March, New Jersey made one of the more significant recent moves regarding turtle-trapping restrictions, ending the commercial harvest season about two weeks before its planned closing date of the 31st of March. A news release about the change says extreme measures were needed to protect turtles, especially the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle meat investigation

6. Seychelles environment ministry and police investigate fisherman for possession of turtle meat
SOURCE: – DATE: 10th June 2015

The Seychelles Ministry of Environment and Energy and the police are investigating a recent seizure of sea turtle meat in the southern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé. In a press statement issued on the 10th of June 2015, the environment ministry said the seizure was made by the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) on the 2nd of June, when NDEA officials arrested a man found to be in possession of the prohibited meat. NDEA’s Deputy Chief Officer Liam Quinn told SNA that the man who has been arrested is a 30-year-old fisherman. “He was also found to be in possession of a small amount of what is suspected to be heroin,” said Quinn adding that the drugs had to be analysed. The suspect remains in police custody as the investigation continues.

Link to this web article online (English)


7. The Philippines: Nine Chinese fishermen freed from Philippine jail following turtle conviction
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th June 2015

The Philippines has freed nine Chinese fishermen convicted of poaching endangered sea turtles after they completed one-year jail terms, officials said Wednesday. The nine, arrested in disputed waters in May last year, were jailed after they failed to pay fines of US$100,000 each for poaching and an additional US$2,662 each for catching an endangered species. Police said they found hundreds of sea turtles, protected under Philippine law, on the group's 15-tonne boat at Half Moon shoal, located on the eastern edge of the Spratly island chain claimed by both the Philippines and China.

Link to this web article online (English)

release Chinese fishermen

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