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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 190, 10th July 2015

1. Trinidad and Tobago: Chinese men caught with turtle eggs charged
SOURCE: trinidadexpress.com – DATE: 2nd July 2015

Four Chinese nationals pleaded guilty before an Arima magistrate (Trinidad and Tobago) yesterday to harvesting turtle eggs and were each fined $1,000.

The men appeared before Magistrate Indar Jagroop where with the aid of an interpreter they pleaded guilty following their arrest on Sunday. The four Chinese men were among five people arrested on Sunday after they were held transporting turtle eggs along Paria Main Road.

Link to this web article online (English)

Black pond turtles seized in Sri Lanka
©
R. Somarathna

2. Sri Lanka: Man nabbed with 124 tortoises inside baggage
SOURCE: dailynews.lk – DATE: 4th July 2015

A confiscation was made by customs officers at Bandaranaike International Airport (Sri Lanka) with 124 live turtles inside the baggage of a 38-year-old Sri Lankan, who had come to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 3rd of July, 2015. The animals are to be handed over to the Dehiwala Zoo. All turtles are Black pond turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii); this endangered species has been protected by Sri Lankan law since 1974.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. The USA: Photos showing women riding sea turtle in Fla. spark outrage
SOURCE: 11alive.com – DATE: 4th July 2015

Photos posted on social media that appear to show two women riding a sea turtle have led to an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The images were sent over Snapchat and appear to have been taken in Melbourne Beach (Florida, the USA), an area well-known for egg-laying sea turtles. A user took screenshots of the shared images and posted them to Facebook. It's unclear when the photos were taken.

An FWC spokesman said investigators have made contact with one of the women in the photos and will be speaking with her. They would not release the woman's name, though apparently she had identified herself on social media earlier. Harassing or molesting a sea turtle is a felony offense.

Link to this web article online (English)

girl distress sea turtle

© Facebook

Indian muntjac
© SCMP

4. Turtle terror! Why Hong Kong should embrace its wild side
SOURCE: scmp.com – DATE: 5th July 2015

Hong Kong's country parks are home to a vast array of animals but any encounter with them is more likely to cause panic than invoke wonder. Stuart Heaver reveals why we shouldn't be afraid to embrace our wild side.

While many are aware of the hazards presented by snakes and poisonous centipedes, few are familiar with the 50 or so species of wild mammal that call Hong Kong home. Worse still, few Hongkongers appear to attach much value to this wonderful range of wild fauna and, for most urban dwellers, the concept of biodiversity is more likely to cause panic than fascination. Although there have been efforts over the past two millennia to change the city's ambivalent attitude and the commoditisation of the local fauna, in the meantime, Hong Kong is still not comfortable with its wild side.

Link to this web article online (English)

Chinese tourist posing with sea turtle

© The Star

5. Malaysia: Tourist posing with protected sea turtle causes stir in social media
SOURCE: thestar.com.my – DATE: 6th July 2015

A picture of a Chinese tourist posing with a protected sea turtle he caught in Semporna waters (Sabah, Malaysia) is creating a stir in social media as Sabah authorities step up investigations into the case.

Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks investigators have turned up at the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort to question the management over the incident, after one of the resort’s boats was spotted in the picture.

They are now trying to ascertain how the tourist could have been allowed to catch a protected turtle and other sea creatures in waters close to the diving haven of Pulau Sipadan. The tourist is believed to be part of a group of eight tourists who visited Semporna on the 27-28th of March 2015.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. Costa Rica: Sea turtle rescued by Costa Rican police from car trunk 
SOURCE: ticotimes.net - DATE: 6th July 2015

When police stopped a car in the city of Limón of Costa Rica Friday evening (the 3rd of July 2015) they were looking for guns or drugs. What they found was a 100-kilogram Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.

The animal had been “brutally” tied by its captors and had injuries from the cords. It was being treated in hopes of eventually releasing it back into the Caribbean. The driver of the car and three passengers were handed over to the Prosecutor’s Office to face charges.

Link to this web article online (English)

green sea turtle found in car trunk

© Costa Rican Public Security Ministry

sea turtle rescue

© Dan Tri

7. Vietnam: Sea turtles need protection from extinction
SOURCE: dtinews.vn – DATE: 6th July 2015

New measures to protect sea turtles are needed as their number has fallen sharply because of human impact and economic development, delegates heard at a conference on the 3rd of July 2015 in the central province of Ninh Thuan, Vietnam. The conference is being held to discuss the National Marine Turtle Conservation Action Plan 2015-2025. The conference is one activity under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Directorate of Fisheries and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

At the conference, representatives from Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces also shared their experiences about sea turtle preservation.

Link to this web article online (English)

8. The USA: Suspects sought in turtle torture in Niagara County
SOURCE: wgrz.com – DATE: 8th July 2015

The Niagara County (New York, the USA) SPCA and the SPCA Serving Erie County are investigating the torture of a turtle.

The SPCA of Niagara posted the video, which was taken on the 6th of June, showing several people torturing the animal. Authorities hope the public can help them identify one of the suspects.

The SPCA says the boys got the turtle in Newstead and then took it to where the video was taken on Royalton Center Road in Wolcottsville. The boys kicked the turtle, beat it with a baseball bat and even stabbed it with a pitchfork. They eventually threw it into a fire.

The SPCA were able to identify three of the boys in the video, but investigators are still trying to identify the person who repeatedly hit the turtle with the baseball bat. All four teenagers will be charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a misdemeanor in New York because the animal in this case is wildlife.

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle tortured in Niagara County

© SPCA

Mae West - deformed turtle

© Teens 4 Oceans

9. Deformed Turtle Reveals Sickening Dangers of Plastic Pollution
SOURCE: takepart.com – DATE: 8th July 2015

Mae West - Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) - is an icon of her time, famous for her life story and often photographed for her distinctive hourglass figure. She’s a living example of the devastating harm a small piece of plastic can do to marine wildlife. When Mae West was just a hatchling, a plastic milk jug ring got stuck around her middle. As plastics are designed to last indefinitely, her body was forced to grow around it, permanently deforming her shell into what looks like a svelte waist.

The unique way plastic hurt Mae West makes her especially photogenic, but her story is common; researchers say tens of thousands of marine animals have encountered human-made trash in the ocean. With an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic contaminating oceans worldwide, plastic is not just a turtle’s problem - it’s everyone’s problem.

Today, unlikely to survive in the wild because of her stunted size and mobility issues, Mae West is settling into her new home- STAR Eco Station in Los Angeles - where she will soon be on display to help educate people about the dangers of plastic.

Link to this web article online (English)

10. Australia: Endangered radiated tortoises rescued from wildlife traffickers in quarantine in Perth Zoo
SOURCE: abc.net.au - DATE: 9th July 2015

Fourteen critically endangered Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) destined for the illegal wildlife trade have been rescued and are now in quarantine at Perth Zoo, Australia.

The animals were intercepted by officials in Hong Kong two years ago. After a long period of negotiations they were transferred to Perth where they have spent three months in quarantine in a temperature controlled enclosure, and are set to be released in the coming days. Four of them will remain in Perth and the other 10 will be transferred to zoos in Queensland.

Link to this web article online (English)

radiated tortoise

© C. Dearle

wildlife confiscated in Lang Son

© Dan Tri

11. Vietnam: 40 kg of snakes and turtles confiscated in Bac Giang province
SOURCE: dantri.com.vn – DATE: 9th July 2015

On the 8th of July 2015, Bac Giang Police Department stopped the car plated 30A - 167.09 driven by Nguyen Van An (living in Nghe An) en route to Lang Son province that borders with China. After searching the car, the police found 32kg of snakes including Common Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa), Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus) and Indochinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros) and 19 turtles weighing 7.5kg. The animals were transferred to Bac Giang province’s Forest Protection Department (FPD).

ATP NOTE: It is likely that this shipment of snakes and turtles was destined for China where there are increasingly high demand for them as traditional foods, medicines and pets. As soon as we became aware of the case, when contacting the FPD on the 9th of July, we were notified that the turtles had already been sold back to traders. No identification was made on the species of turtle involved. 

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

 
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