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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 223, 26th february 2016

1. Vietnam: Large soft-shell turtle caught in Hai Phong, northern Vietnam
SOURCE: haiphongaz.com – DATE: 25th February 2016

Reportedly, in the morning of the 25th of February 2016, a large soft-shell turtle was caught by a local fisherman in Da River, Kien Thuy District, Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam.

According to local people, catching the turtle was auspicious. This animal has attracted hundreds of people. The turtle is now being kept inside a circular cage for display at a local household. Many people dropped money into the enclosure; they also forced the turtle to hold the notes in its mouth, and touched the head for good luck.

ATP NOTE: Photos appeared to be an Asiatic soft-shell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea). Local authorities are presented at the site to encourage local people to release this turtle back to the wild.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

large soft-shell turtle in Hai Phong

© haiphongaz.com

large soft-shell turtle in Hai Phong

© haiphongaz.com

Pig-nosed turtle

© R. Bulmahn

2. Indonesia: Large seizures of protected Pig-nosed Turtles in Indonesia highlight magnitude of illegal trade - a TRAFFIC update
SOURCE: traffic.org – DATE: 23rd February 2016

Close to 8,000 freshwater turtles destined for illegal trade were confiscated in back-to-back seizures in Indonesia over the past week, the vast majority of them protected Pig-nosed Turtles.

On Sunday the 21st of February 2016, the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and Quarantine officials at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport Quarantine discovered 3,737 Pig-nosed Turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) and 883 Snake-necked Turtles (Macrochelodina rugosa) concealed in 38 boxes headed for Hong Kong. Officials’ became suspicious when they noticed a change in boxes containing 15,200 Clown Loach Fish Chromobotia macracanthus that they had inspected and cleared earlier. On closer inspection the turtles were discovered.

The suitcases had been brought through the old entrance of the airport which is not equipped with X-ray machines. The turtles were due to be sent to Jayapura, before heading to Jakarta.

Just days prior to the seizure in Jakarta, authorities foiled a separate attempt to smuggle 3,230 Pig-nosed Turtles out of the Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika, Papua province in 190 plastic boxes that were concealed in four black suitcases.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. India: 605 Indian Flapshell Turtles confiscated in Manipuri district
SOURCE: timesofindia.indiatimes.com – DATE: 20th February 2016

In a major bust, Mainpuri district forest officials on Friday (the 19th of February 2016) night seized 605 Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctuate), which were allegedly to be smuggled to South Asian countries. This haul comes close on the heels of the seizure of 3000 turtles from a truck from Mainpuri by the Dumka Forest Division staff in Jharkhand on the 2nd of February 2016

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Vietnam: Rescue of critical tortoise and freshwater turtles in Vietnam
SOURCE: nhandan.com.vn – DATE: 23rd February 2016

In 2015, the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam, received 185 turtles in 08 confiscations and from individual animals handed in from the pet trade. This had been one of the busiest years for rescues at the centre in the past decade. These numbers do not necessarily reflect an increase in animals being traded in Vietnam, but rather the improvement in confiscation and placement mechanisms in the country to deal with the wildlife trade.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

keeled box turlte

© ATP

Ploughshare tortoise

© TRAFFIC

5. Thailand: Legal loopholes leave non-native wildlife unprotected
SOURCE: traffic.org – DATE: 24th February 2016

TRAFFIC the wildlife trade monitoring organisation has highlighted the loophole in Thailand’s legislation and the urgent need for legal reform were raised following a recently published study carried out by TRAFFIC on the tortoise and freshwater turtle trade at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market where long-term monitoring found unabated trade over a decade involving non-native species, including several listed in CITES Appendix I.

A listing in Appendix I of CITES means commercial international trade in a species is prohibited.

During 12 surveys, carried out from 2004 to 2013, no fewer than 2,500 tortoises and freshwater turtles were recorded in Chatuchak, 97% of the species encountered were of foreign origin.

In total, almost half of the species observed were globally threatened and currently banned from international trade.

They included some of the world’s rarest animals, including the CITES Appendix I-listed Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora), Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), and Burmese Star Tortoise (Geochelone platynota).

Link to this web article online (English)

6. Cave-Dwelling Giant Tortoises Are a Big Surprise
SOURCE: nationalgeographic.com – DATE: 12th February 2016

As ectotherms the tortoises on the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean have to deal with high temperatures during the rainy season from November to April, which on the Aldabra Atoll, part of the Seychelles, can soar upwards of 107 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42 to 43 degrees Celsius).

This means the 100,000 or so giant Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) that call this raised coral reef home must find shade or risk overheating and dying, they hiding out in caves.

Link to this web article online (English)

cave dwelling tortoise

© T. Peschak

7. The USA: Hemet couple pleads guilty to smuggling over 900 sea turtle eggs
SOURCE: cbs8.com – DATE: 20th February 2016

A Hemet couple pleaded guilty in San Diego (California, the USA) federal court Friday (19th February 2016) to smuggling almost 1,000 endangered sea turtle eggs into the United States from Mexico.

Olga Jimenez and Jose Luis Jimenez are scheduled to be sentenced on 6th May by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino. As revealed in court pleadings, on the 23rd of November 2014, in Nayarit, Mexico, Olga Jimenez boarded a bus destined for Tijuana with a large cooler containing nine small plastic bags filled with 911 sea turtle eggs. At the same time, Jose Luis Jimenez was driving from Hemet to the Mexican border, where he crossed into Mexico as a pedestrian carrying two small coolers. The defendants agreed that the eggs belonged to endangered Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii).

Link to this web article online (English)

8. India: 15 endangered loggerhead sea turtles seized
SOURCE: business-standard.com – DATE: 22nd February 2016

Fifteen endangered Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) which were being smuggled out to Bangladesh through Meghalaya's South Garo Hills district, Meghalaya, India have been seized by the Border Security Force(BSF).

The turtles were found today in a bag left by the smugglers at the side of a road at Dumnikora area of the district during a chase by the force personnel, BSF spokesperson said.

Link to this web article online (English)

9. The USA: Leatherback Sea Turtle Saved From Crab Trap by JSO Officers
SOURCE: facebook.com - DATE: 22nd February 2016

A Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is reduced by Jacksonville police after it became entangled in a crab trap.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Steve Mullen and Officer Brad Smith were off shore two miles out in front of Hanna Park (Jacksonville, Florida, the USA) around 1:00 p.m. on the 22nd of February 2016. They observed a nine foot Leatherback Sea Turtle in distress. The sea turtle had become entangled in a crab trap. The trap's rope was looped around the sea turtle's neck, and the buoy was still attached to the trap. As a result, whenever the turtle tried to dive, the rope tightened around its neck. Lt. Steve Mullen was able to disentangle the distressed turtle from the crab trap while keeping the turtle in the water.

Link to this web article online (English)

Yellow-headed turtle caught in Ca Mau

© TRAFFIC

10. Vietnam: Endangered Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Heosemys annandalii) caught in Ca Mau, southern Vietnam
SOURCE: vietq.vn – DATE: 25th February 2016

Reportedly, at noon on the 9th of February 2016, Mrs. Thu's son-in-law (resides at Tan Phong A Hamlet, Hoa Thanh Commune, Ca Mau City, Ca Mau Province) caught one 8 kg Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Heosemys annandalii) at the back of her house. Interestingly, it is rumoured that the turtle crawled up into the kitchen to eat, also climbing onto the altar, they also claim the animal can cure sickness when crawling over the human body.

ATP NOTE: Turtle are often represented in Vietnamese culture; rumours are often heard associating large, old or unusual caught/seen turtles. Unfortunately superstition is sometimes used for economic gain with people encouraged to donate money to the turtles to bring good fortune or health. The ATP is seeking for more information of this case.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

 

 
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