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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 228, 1st April 2016

1. Cambodia: Turtles, pythons saved en route to Vietnam
SOURCE: phnompenhpost.com – DATE: 30th March 2016

A truck carrying 103 endangered Yellow-headed Temple Turtles (Heosemys annandalii), six Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) and 11 Reticulated Pythons (Python reticulatus) intended for sale in Vietnam was intercepted in Kien Svay district, Kandal, Cambodia on Monday (28th March 2016) by Forestry Administration (FA) officials.

The truck driver managed to escape during the inspection. In the morning of 29th March 2016, the animals, minus one turtle that had died, were handed over to conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance to be released in the wild or held at the Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue centre (Phnom Penh, Cambodia).

Link to this web article online (English)

Turtles seized in Cambodia

© Phnompenhpost.com

wildlife confiscation in Vietnam

© nld.com.vn

2. Thua Thien - Hue province, Vietnam: Wildlife intended for restaurants seized.
SOURCE: nld.com.vn – DATE: 26th March 2016

On the 24th of March 2016, Thua Thien - Hue police raided the house of a woman named Nguyen Thi Mai at Huong Tra town, Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam and found illegally possessed wildlife. Upon investigation, the police detected some alive wildlife such as cobras, snakes, softshell turtles, civets, and 50kg frozen meat of wild boar, monkey and civet. Ms. Mai confessed that the wildlife had been purchased from many different sources and was to be sold and consumed at restaurants in the northern provinces of Vietnam.

The police said that all records and material evidence related to the case had been transferred for functional agency.

ATP NOTE: The species of turtles involved was not known.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. Vietnam: Release of a 45kg Green sea turtle back to the sea
SOURCE: dantri.com.vn – DATE: 29th March 2016

At about 6 am on the 28th of March 2016, while fishing at Cau Hai Lagoon (Loc Dien commune, Phu Loc district, Thu Thien - Hue province, Vietnam) a fisherman named Le Te caught a sea turtle. Informed about the case, Thue Thien - Hue's Department of Fisheries in collaboration with local authorities identified and released the turtle back to the sea. The turtle was a Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), 100 cm in length and 45 kg in weight. About 12pm on the same day, the turtle was released back to the sea.

ATP NOTE: What is great about this case is that crowds of people from the local community and media went along for the release. Hopefully they all found it an uplifting experience.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

sea turtle

© Thua Thien - Hue's Department of Fisheries

sea turtle

© Thua Thien - Hue's Department of Fisheries

4. Taiwan arrests 41 Chinese coral and turtle poachers in South China Sea
SOURCE: japantimes.co.jp – DATE: 28th March 2016

On the 22nd of March 2016, the Taiwanese coast guard arrested 41 Chinese fisherman found with 15 tons of illicit coral and endangered turtles in their possession near a disputed atoll in the South China Sea. The 300 ton vessel was in contested waters.

On board officials later recovered the harvested reef from the ship along with three endangered turtles and about 40 kg (88 pounds) of chemicals used to kill fish.

ATP NOTE: turtle species was not given. The use of chemicals to kill fish is also alarming.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

5. Turkey: Ancient Assyrians buried their dead with turtles
SOURCE: sciencenews.org – DATE: 30th March 2016

Ancient Assyrians sent their dead to the afterlife with fearsome companions: turtles. Excavations of a burial pit in south-eastern Turkey revealed skeletons of a woman and a child, plus 21 turtles, a team lead archaeologist Rémi Berthon of France’s National Museum of Natural History reports in the February Antiquity.

The burial is part of an Assyrian site called Kavuşan Höyük that dates to between 700 and 300 B.C. The turtle bonanza included shells from one Spur-thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca) and three Middle Eastern terrapins (Mauremys caspica), plus bones from 17 Euphrates Soft-shelled turtles (Rafetus euphraticus). Butchering marks on the R. euphraticus bones indicate that the turtles may have been eaten in a funerary feast, Berthon and his colleagues write.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Rafetus euphraticus

© R. Berthon et al

sea turtle

© T. Shimada

6. Australia: Turtle tracking results must lead to new thinking on habitat management, marine biologist says
SOURCE: abc.net.au – DATE: 31st March 2016

While it has long been known female marine turtles return to their birthplace to nest, Queensland researchers have recently discovered the whole family of turtles is able to find its way home after being displaced.

One of the lead authors of the study, James Cook University marine biologist Dr Takahiro Shimada, said the discovery had serious implications for the environmental management of marine turtle habitats. In the study, the tracking maps of 113 turtles that had been captured for a variety of reasons were analysed to learn more about their behaviour once released back into the wild.

Of the 59 turtles released away from the area they were captured in, all but three of them returned to their original home area - with some travelling hundreds of kilometres to get there. He said the remaining 54 turtles involved in the study were released either in, or very close to, their home area and never strayed.

Link to this web article online (English)

7. Brazil:First Protection for Endangered Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle
SOURCE: rainforesttrust.org – DATE: 31st March 2016

Thanks to Rainforest Trust donors and other supporters, 236 acres of crucial rainforest and wetland habitat for Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle (Mesoclemmys hogei) have been purchased in Brazil. Securing this land as a private reserve will help recover the Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle population and may be the best hope of saving it from extinction.

On the 26th February 2016, Rainforest Trust supported local Brazilian partner Fundação Biodiversitas in purchasing a critical private property along the Carangola River, establishing the Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle Reserve. The recent land purchase is a crucial step forward to establishing a safe refuge for the last stronghold of Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle, allowing it to recover and thrive. The new reserve also protects part of Brazil’s imperilled Atlantic rainforest. While only 7% of the Atlantic Rainforest remains intact today, it continues to be one of the planet’s most important biodiversity hotspots, being a home to some of the planet’s most endangered wildlife.

Link to this web article online (English)

Hoge's Side-necked Turtle

© Fundação Biodiversitas

 
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