Asian Turtle Program
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No. 210, 27th November 2015

1. Vietnam: X-raying Big Headed Turtles in Hanoi
SOURCE: - DATE: 24th November 2015

Recently, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park in collaboration with the iVet Centre have x-rayed 42 alive and 3 dead Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum). These animals were from recent confiscations between June and September 2015. Unfortunately fishhooks were found in 2 dead animal and 4 live animals, some of these will need surgery to remove the hooks. Big-headed turtle is listed as Endangered in IUCN Red List (2014) and is protected under Vietnamese law as it is listed under group IIB of Decree 32/2006/ND-CP.

ATP NOTE: Dealing with the confiscations and care has taken the ATP and TCC considerable staff time and resources. We urgently need more support to allow the continued treatments and care of these animals and receive more confiscations in the future. If you would like to support please visit:

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

X-ray Big-headed turtles


X-ray Big-headed turtle


© Youtube

2. Vietnam: Filming season at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Vietnam.
SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd November 2014

VTV4 News to air piece on TCC tonight, 23rd November at 21:30hrs.

Since the end of October 2015 it has been a busy time for the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park. In additional to the hectic schedule dealing with care of over 700 threatened tortoise and freshwater turtles of over 22 species and maintaining a quarantine population of almost 150 animals from recent confiscations, the centre has also had 4 film crews visiting in recent weeks.

From the 24th to 29th of October the Polish film team for Banzai TV filmed at the centre, on the 4th of November the local Ninh Binh TV visited and on the 5th of November the national Vietnamese TV 4 (VTV4) worked with Hao Do Thanh the TCC manager for a special piece on management of the centre which will be aired on the 23rd of November at 21:30hrs. On the 18th of November the Vietnam News Agency (TTXV) also filmed and reported on the TCC.

Hao Do Thanh of the TCC said, ‘It is great to have so much filming going on in the last few weeks. It all good for raising awareness about turtle conservation and about what the TCC is doing as many people are still unaware of the threats to turtles or what we are doing here in Cuc Phuong National Park’.

Through the on-going awareness by the TCC the centre will continue to contribute to broader conservation of turtles in Vietnam as well as providing an important role in the rescue, breeding and release of animals confiscation from the trade.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. Brazil: Turtle lays eggs as toxic mud nears coastline
SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd November 2015

Conservationists monitor an endangered turtle laying her eggs along the coastline, where the mudflow from two burst dams is expected to arrive in the coming days, potentially threatening fish and animals in the area.

Conservationists gathered along the coast of Espirito Santo in Brazil to monitor a Loggerhead Turtle (Carreta carreta) laying her eggs. The area is expected to be imminently covered by the mudflow from two burst dams after a mining disaster in Minas Gerais, Brazil two weeks ago. Conservationists are concerned that a change to the local ecosystem could threaten animals living in the area. Scientists say the sediment, which may contain chemicals used by the mine to reduce iron ore impurities, could reduce oxygen and alter pH levels in the water, causing great harm to aquatic life.

The Brazilian Environment Institute (Ibama) and the Chico Mendes Conservation and Biodiversity Institute (ICMBio) began removing young turtles from the area on Friday (the 20th of November 2015), as temporary barriers have also been put in place along the River Doce. Thirty-three nests were removed in the first day and transferred to areas which will not be directly affected by the mudflow, in an effort to protect the most endangered species and the biodiversity of the region. Similar efforts are also underway to remove endangered fish species from the River Doce, and transfer them to clean waters.

Link to this web article online (English)


4. Panama turtle eggs could 'fry' from rising temperatures: eco-group
SOURCE: – DATE: 25th November 2015

Sea turtle eggs laid in the sand of beaches in Panama risk getting fried before hatching because of rising temperatures, an environmental protection group in the Central American country is warning.

The Tortuguias group has found that temperature spikes are risking the viability of eggs laid by thousands of sea turtles on two Pacific coast beaches it monitors. The fact that the sand is warmer, too, increases the chances of female turtles hatching, throwing gender ratios out of balance. "Temperature spokes have reached 36 degree Celsius, Gerardo Alvarez, a member of the Tortuguias group said. The eggs need a sand temperature range of 26 to 35 degrees Celsius be viable. Higher than that and incubation is halted, with the proteins inside becoming cooked.

Link to this web article online (English)

Panama turtle eggs could fry



Indian Star Tortoise

© N. Sangnak

5. How the Growing Trade in One Tortoise Puts Others at Risk
SOURCE: – DATE: 27th November 2015

The booming trade in Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) makes easy cover for nearly extinct Madagascan tortoises.

The trade in Indian Star Tortoises now provides cover for trade in species that are even more at risk: Madagascar’s Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) and Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora), both critically endangered. The Radiated Tortoise has a starry pattern on its shell, very similar to the Indian Star Tortoise, and the Ploughshare has a protective neck plate below its chin shaped like the blade of a plow.

In a shipment of baby Indian Star Tortoises, who’s going to notice one or two almost identical, but critically endangered, Radiated tortoises or a tan Ploughshare tucked among them?

One trafficking attempt was too big to miss: In 2013, Thai customs agents caught a pair of smugglers at the airport with 300 Indian Star Tortoises, 21 Radiated Tortoises, and 54 Ploughshares-an estimated 10-plus per cent of the entire remaining population of Ploughshares.

Link to this web article online (English)

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