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No. 222, 19th February 2016

1. Vietnam: Body of Hanoi giant turtle remains in cold storage as preservation plans undecided
SOURCE: – DATE: 18th January 2016

The Hoan Kiem Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) remains in cold storage at the Vietnam National Museum of Nature, a museum under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, pending an official preservation method. The best way to preserve the old animal for display purposed being discussed include wet and dry mummification, and plasticization.

Dr. Vu Ngoc Thanh, an animal expert, told VnExpress that the wet method is not feasible as it requires constantly chemical changes, while the plasticization is too expensive. He thus suggests the turtle be dry mummified, as is another giant turtle in the same lake that died in 2010.

The idea was echoed by Assoc. Prof. Ha Dinh Duc, a Hanoi pundit who has extensively studied turtles at Hoan Kiem Lake in the last two decades.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Hoan Kiem turtle

© Ha Dinh Duc

2. Malaysia: Tortoise smugglers not our staff, says MAS
SOURCE: – DATE: 15th February 2016

Responding to the reports that three men, who were detained for smuggling 30 tortoises at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on last Friday (12th February 2016), were supposedly working for Malaysia Airlines (MAS), MAS spokesman said they are not MAS staffs.

It was reported that 30 tortoises worth about RM1.05mil ($250,000) were found inside three trolley bags with MAS tags around 6pm that day. The three men were fined one lakh each (RM5,150; equivalent to $1221), with two of them also sentenced to one year's jail. All the animals were later released at the Bangabandhu Safari Park.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

3. Fiji: Stern warning over turtle killing
SOURCE: – DATE: 15th February 2016

The Fisheries Department in the North of Fiji has warned those killing sea turtles that it is illegal and that those caught doing so are liable for prosecution.

Speaking at the Nadogo district meeting at Nasasa Village (Wainikoro, Fiji), Alivereti Tuinamata - North senior fisheries officer said they were aware of perpetrators still slaying turtles despite the recent ban placed on them. Mr Tuinamata reminded village headmen of their role in ensuring that turtles were not slain illegally. He said the turtle moratorium was still in force and extended from January 2008 to December 2018.

He said turtles could only be considered for slaughter on the traditional installation or death of a chief. In order to get approval for such killings, Mr Tuinamata said applications needed to be made to the Fisheries Department for the approval from the Minister for Fisheries.

Link to this web article online (English)

new species in Papua  New Guinea


4. New freshwater turtle species discovered in Papua New Guinea provides insight into Australia's ecological past
SOURCE: – DATE: 18th February 2016

A new species of freshwater turtle has been discovered in Papua New Guinea, which researchers say would have been present while the island was still forming.

A study published in the international journal, Zootaxa, says the turtle, named Elseya Rhodini, is one of three distantly-related species found across PNG and Indonesia's Papua province. The species is part of the Chelidae family of side-neck turtles which are restricted to South America and Australia, along with PNG, Timor and Rote in Indonesia.

The study's lead author, Arthur Georges from the University of Canberra, says the three species evolved from a common ancestor somewhere between 17 and 19 million years ago.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. Vietnam suspends CITES-listed species trade with Laos
SOURCE: – DATE: 18th February 2016

Vietnam has suspended commercial trade in specimens of species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) with Laos .

On the 18th of February 2016, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) dispatched a document to involved organisations and individuals on the suspension of granting CITES certificates and permits. Accordingly, the Vietnam CITES management authority temporarily stops granting CITES certificates to the export, re-export and import of specimens of CITES-listed species to and from Laos for commercial purposes from the 11th of February until further notice.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

suspend CITES list species trade with Laos


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