Asian Turtle Program
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No. 203, 9th October 2015

1. Vietnam: Rare, endangered turtles transferred to Cuc Phuong Turtle Rescue Centre
SOURCE: - DATE: 8th October 2015

A large confiscation of tortoise and freshwater turtles has been made on the 21st of September 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam, with over 200 rare and endangered animals, comprising of Indochinese Box Turtle species (Cuora galbinifrons, Cuora bourreti), Keeled Box Turtles (Cuora mouhotii) and Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) and Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys sp.). These animals were immediately sent to a Rescue Centre in Hanoi.

On the 30th of September, 20 Cuora galbinifrons, 10 Cuora bourreti, 30 Cuora mouhotii, 23 Platysternon megacephalum, 4 Cuora amboinensis, 10 Cyclemys oldhamii, and some other turtle species were transferred to and are now under care of Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

turtles released to TCC



radiated tortoises

© Xu Ling

2. Hundreds of protected tortoises seized in Madagascar
SOURCE: – DATE: 5th October 2015

On the 29th of September, Malagasy Customs and border police officials scanning luggage discovered a staggering 771 wild native tortoises concealed in two wooden boxes at Antananarivo’s Ivato International Airport.

The seizure was described by Customs as the largest ever of its kind at the airport. The consignment included 8 Ploughshare Tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) — considered to be the world’s rarest tortoise—and 763 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) although 20 of the animals are understood to have died subsequently.

The surviving Radiated Tortoises have been handed over to the Turtle Survival Alliance and the Ploughshare Tortoises to the Durrell Conservation Trust for rehabilitation, before their release back into the wild.

Link to this web article online (English)

© National Police

3. Cambodia: Vietnamese teens busted with endangered animals
SOURCE: – DATE: 5th October 2015

Two Vietnamese teenagers were arrested in Kandal province on Friday after being found illegally transporting 44 endangered tortoises, which they reportedly intended to smuggle into Vietnam for sale.

Voeng Tu, 19, and Thit Vrai, 17, were captured in Koh Thom district (Kandal Province, Cambodia), where police said they had captured Elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) that live in the mountains in the area. “Both suspects were freed and returned home after an eight-hour detention [where they were] educated and signed a contract promising not to capture and traffic wild animals,” said Koh Thom district police spokesman Men Seng. The tortoises were handed to conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance, which will release them back into the wild.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Mink, turtle and monitor lizard hidden in a suitcase to smuggle into Vietnam
SOURCE: - DATE: 6th October 2015

Around 8:30 on the 9th of September 2015, Customs of Moc Bai International border gate (located in Tay Ninh province, Vietnam and bordering with Cambodia) detected 2 European polecats (Mustela putorius) weighing 0.4kg each, 2 Asian forest tortoise (Manouria emys) (one weighs 8kg, the other one 4kg), 4 Savannah monitors (Varanus exanthematicus) weighing 0.1kg each but already dead. These animals were found in a suitcase of a Vietnamese tourist named Vuong Vinh Phat travelling back to Vietnam from Cambodia. The subject confessed that these animals were bought in Bangkok (Thailand), and also said that in 2014, he was already imposed with administrative penalty for illegally importing some wild animals to Ho Chi Minh city for consumption. Tay Ninh Province’s Forest Protection Department is preparing to transfer these 2 European polecats and 2 turtles to the Animal Rescue Centre of Kien Giang Province’s Forest Protection Department.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Manouria emys


5. India: 200 star tortoises seized at Chennai airport, two carriers detained
SOURCE: - DATE: 8th October 2015

Security personnel at the Chennai airport (Tamil Nadu, India) on Thursday (the 8th of October 2015) seized 200 Star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) while they were being smuggled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two people - Ziaudeen (48) and Ashraf Ali (23) - were detained for interrogation in this connection. The final destination of the tortoises was Jakarta in Indonesia, officials said.

The bureau officials added Dinesh Jothimani, an aquarium trader based in Kolathur (Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India), was the man behind this illegal trade. This is the third consignment that was sent by him to South East Asian destination. The officials said they would arrest the kingpin in the smuggling of star tortoise with the support and cooperation of forest officials.

Link to this web article online (English)

mistreat of softshell turtles in Sunrise stores

© Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

6. The USA: Asian market in Sunrise charged with wildlife violations
SOURCE: – DATE: 8th October 2015

A large Asian grocery store in Sunrise (Florida, the USA) that carries specialty items such as fresh jellyfish and dried seaweed has been hit with criminal charges for mistreating wildlife being sold as food.

New York Mart, part of a Chinese grocery chain based in Queens, New York, delivers bamboo shoots, pig's ears, Peking duck and other delicacies to South Florida's Asian community. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the store crammed live softshell turtles and frogs into containers that didn't allow them to move, failed to provide clean water and committed other violations.

Link to this web article online (English)

7. Bangladesh: 169 tortoises freed into Safari Park
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th October 2015

At least 169 rare species tortoises rescued from Benapol (border between India and Bangladesh) were released into Gazipur Bangabandhu Safari Park (Gazipur, Dhaka, Bangladesh) on the 8th of October 2015.

Shibu Prasad Bhattacharya, officer-in-charge of the park, said Border Guard Bangladesh had rescued the tortoises from Baropota frontier (at Benapol) when a group of smugglers were smuggling those into the country on Sunday (the 4th of October 2015).

ATP NOTE: the photograph with this story shows mostly Tricarinate Hill Turtle (Melanochelys tricarinata)with some Spotted Pond Turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii).

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

169 turtles smuggled in Bangladesh


285 olive ridley eggs seized


8. Costa Rica: Police seize 285 olive ridley sea turtle eggs from driver near Jaco
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th September 2015

Police officers seized 285 of Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) from a driver in Herradura, near Jaco (Puntarenas, Costa Rica) on Thursday (the 8th of October 2015). Officers discovered the eggs in the trunk of the car during a roadblock checkpoint, said Ministry of Public Security (MSP). Officers took the eggs to a special nursery where they will be protected until they hatch, police officials confirmed.

According to the MSP, officers have been recovering up to 700 eggs on area beaches like Jaco and Playa Hermosa each night since the spawning season began in July, and transporting them to the nursery in order to protect them from poachers.  After hatching about 50 days later, they are returned to the sea.

Link to this web article online (English)


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