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No. 227, 25th March 2016

1. Vietnam: Decision made on the preservation technique for the Hoan Kiem Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei).
SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd March 2016

According to Pr. Ha Dinh Duc, the authority of the capital of Hanoi, Vietnam have made the final decision on the method of preservation for the body of the Hoan Kiem turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) which passed away on the 19th of January 2016. The technique to be used is PLASTINATION. [According to Wikipedia, Plastination is a technique or process used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts, first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample.] Dr. Phan Ke Long, Vice Director of Vietnam National Museum of Nature, said 'Plastination is the most modern technique used to preserve bodies or body parts'.

Dr. Nguyen Xuan Lam of Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources highlighted the bigger advantages of plastination compared to wet preservation and dry preservation. However, Plastination has never been applied in Vietnam and there are no Vietnamese experts on this approach. At the end of April, two German experts will come to Vietnam to consult and guide the preserving of Hoan Kiem turtle body. The process will take at least 12 months.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Turtle body


over 500 turtles seized in Thailand


2. Thailand: Smuggler caught with rare turtles and snakes
SOURCE: - DATE: 19th March 2016

506 turtles and tortoises, monitor lizards, 3 pythons, 12 cobras and 20 other rare snakes confiscated in Thailand on the border with Cambodia. - Reported by TRAFFIC southeast Asia.

Police found in a pick-up truck in Thailand's Sa Keo province, that borders Cambodia, following a tip off. The truck driver was arrested on charges of illegal possession and trading and torturing protected wildlife.

ATP NOTE: from the photograph Malayan Snail-eating Turtle (Malayemys subtrijuga) and Yellow-headed Temple Turtles (Heosemys annandalii) can be seen.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. India: Custom officials seize 146 tortoises at Mumbai Airport
SOURCE: – DATE: 20th March 2016

In Mumbai, India customs officials seized 146 tortoises from a mishandled baggage of a Nepal citizen at the Mumbai airport.

The bag reportedly belonging to a transit passenger, who arrived from Madagascar and flew to Kathmandu in Nepal leaving this bag behind. In the bag they found 146 tortoises, 139 were Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and seven Ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora), both critically endangered tortoise species of Madagascar. Two radiated tortoises were found dead with broken shell.

Since these were exotic species and cannot be introduced into India and because of quarantine reasons, as informed by wild life authorities, the airlines have been instructed to re-export the same to Madagascar under intimation to wildlife authorities there.

ATP NOTE: The Ploughshare tortoises are endemic to Madagascar and considered one of the world’s rarest turtle species. It is also interesting that these animals were destined for Nepal which is not one of the more common wildlife trade routes in Asia.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

146 turtles seized in India

© Twitter

sea turtle found in Nghe An


4. Vietnam: A fisherman released a rare sea turtle to the sea after refusing 300 million Vietnam dong ($13,437) for the animal.
SOURCE: – DATE: 19th March 2016

On the 18th of March 2016, Duong Van Be, a fisherman in Nghe An province found a sea turtle entangled in fishing nets while fishing at Dong Hoi lagoon, Nghe An province, Vietnam. The turtle weighed 70kg. The news attracted a large number of people to come and see the turtle. One trader reportedly offered to buy the turtle at 300 million Vietnam dong (equivalent to US $13,437), but Mr. Be turned downed the offer and released the turtle back to the sea.

ATP NOTE: As seen from the picture, the turtle appears to be a Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta).

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

5. Quang Ngai province, Vietnam: Border guards confiscated and released 4 rare sea turtles
SOURCE: – DATE: 20th March 2016

On the 19th of March 2016, Hai Binh border guard (Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province, central Vietnam) in collaboration with Quang Ngai province’s Department of Exploitation and Protection of Fisheries Resources released 4 rare sea turtles back to the nature.  These sea turtles included 1 Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and 3 Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas).  They were confiscated from a suspect named Pham Cham living in Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province at about 16:00 on the 18th of March 2016.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

4 sea turtles released in Quang Ngai


sea turtle released in China

© NetEase

6. China: Fujian villager turns down 10,000 RMB ($1,537), returns beautiful turtle back to the sea
SOURCE: – DATE: 21st March 2016

Several fishermen in Fujian, China accidentally caught a gorgeous sea turtle in their fishing net last week, rather than sell it for big bucks, they returned the beautiful creature back to the sea.

Reportedly, when going fishing near their village as usual last Monday, Li Awei and his friends found a huge sea turtle had accidentally got caught in the net.

Li told reporters that the beautiful sea turtle - 107 cm long, 73 cm wide and 67.5kg in weight - quickly made him the most sought after man in town. Some of his fellow villagers even offered him as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,537) for the turtle. However, Li rejected all offers. Locals believe that seeing such a big sea turtle is auspicious, rather than risk misfortune to turn a quick profit, Li and his friends agreed to return the creature back to the sea.

The local Bureau of Ocean and Fisheries identified the turtle as an Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), which is listed as a second-class nationally-protected marine animal, so probably a good thing he didn't sell it.

Link to this web article online (English)

7. Faking Out Poachers With 3-D-Printed Sea Turtle Eggs
SOURCE: – DATE: 24th March 2016

Conservationists hope to track the black market in eggs by tricking traders with artificial ones that contain wireless transmitters.

The non-profit Paso Pacifico is in the process of developing an innovative fake egg to help conservationists better understand - and maybe stop - the illegal trade. The eggs will contain a GSM transmitter hidden inside a 3-D-printed shell made to look exactly like what poachers would find within a fresh sea turtle nest. The fakes, each the size of a ping-pong ball, will then be tracked over cellular networks along their smuggling routes to their final destinations.

The project was one of the winners of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, organized by U.S. Aid for International Development, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. Paso Pacifico and its partners received $10,000 and technical support from the challenge, which they are now using to perfect the prototype.

ATP NOTE: it may have been more beneficial to implement this project and get results before releasing information on the technology as some traders will now be on the look out for it. Still hopefully a deterrent.

Link to this web article online (English)

fake sea turtle egg

© Paso Pacifico

8. LED fishing nets could prevent thousands of sea turtle deaths
SOURCE: – DATE: 24th March 2016

Researchers at the University of Exeter (Exeter, Devon, the UK) have developed a new LED fishing net technology that could prevent thousands of sea turtle deaths, according to a recent study in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. This is because the green lights help turtles see the dangerous mesh netting as they swim through the dark ocean waves, allowing them to avoid it. Fish, however, do not see the lights, so fishermen can still trap their usual catch.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

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