Asian Turtle Program
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No. 230, 15th April 2016

1. Hanoi, Vietnam: Hanoi seized one ton of soft-shell turtles of unknown origins.  
SOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2016

In the afternoon of the 13th April 2016, Hanoi Environment Police (C49) in collaboration with Dong Da District police (Hanoi) discovered more than one ton of live soft-shell turtles in a car with its interior seating removed while making random traffic vehicle inspections. At the time of inspection, police found not only one ton of alive soft-shell turtle but also electric bicycles, home appliances and many unknown sourced chemical packages.

Hanoi Environment Police Department is expanding the investigation, to clarify the incident.

ATP NOTE: photo appears to be Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis), a species commonly bred in commercial farms in Vietnam and China.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

one ton of soft-shell turtles seized in Hanoi


one ton of soft-shell turtles seized in Hanoi


2. Vietnam: Large Cantor’s Softshell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) rescued in southern Vietnam.
SOURCE: – DATE: 8th April 2016

During online trade monitoring on the 5th of April by the Asian Turtle Program a YouTube video was found showing a large Cantor’s Soft-shell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) which was reported to weigh 20kg. The case was reported to Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a Hanoi based NGO with a focus on wildlife trade. ENV was able to work with the authorities to successfully confiscate the animal. A great result and well done all involved.

It is hope the animal can be released back into the Mekong or another suitable large river.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. Indonesia: Bali police release into the wild 31 sea turtles who had been captured by a gang of poachers 
SOURCE: – DATE: 14th April 2016

These are the amazing scenes as marine police officers in Bali release 31 rare sea turtles into the ocean who had been captured by an illegal gang of smugglers. 

The languid reptiles faced an uncertain future after they were caught by an international gang of smugglers and may have been on their way to a restaurant or to be used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, last week the authorities raided the gang's hide out and rescued the turtles before they could be smuggled out of the country. 

Police, aided by wildlife officials, carried the heavy turtles back to the ocean at Kuta beach on the island of Bali, Indonesia on the 14th of April 2016.  

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Canada: Regina pet store helps abandoned turtles
Prairie Aquatics and Exotics gets several turtles every month
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th April 2016

A Regina pet store is trying to find new and - most importantly - adequate homes for several rescued and surrendered turtles.

Stuart Cook is the owner of Prairie Aquatics and Exotics in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He said they currently have three surrendered turtles in their care. On average, they get several every month. He took to Facebook earlier this week to ask for help.

Cook said there are a lot of misconceptions about owning a turtle. He said one of the most important things for taking care of turtles owners are a heavy filtration system and appropriate lighting. There are starter kits for pet owners, but Cook said they are not typically adequate for turtles. He emphasized that turtles should be fed "mostly fresh foods" and that pellets and other prepared foods don't offer enough nutrition.

Link to this web article online (English)


© Prairie Aquatics and Exotics

turtle burial


5. Saint Lucia: Slaughter of turtles raising concern
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th April 2016

Locally based Conservationists have expressed concern about the continued slaughter of Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) on Grande Anse beach, on the North East Atlantic coast of Saint Lucia.

Doctor Horst Michael Vogel, the Head of Programme for Caribbean Aqua-Terrestial Solutions (CATS), has reported discovering a turtle grave on the beach on Saturday, the 9th of April 2016.

One source described the turtle slaughter as “disheartening” despite the gains made in 2014 and 2015.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. The USA: Canadian turtle smuggler receives nearly 5 years in prison
SOURCE: – DATE: 12th April 2016

A Canadian man who repeatedly entered Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to his native China only to be caught with 51 of them strapped to his legs was sentenced Tuesday (the 12th of March 2016) to nearly five years in federal prison for smuggling.

The government said Xu shipped turtles to China from Canada and the U.S., or hired people to fly with turtles in their luggage to China, where they are coveted as pets. He was apprehended with 51 of them on his legs at the Ontario, Canada's border in 2014.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online Vietnamese)

7. Thailand: Turtles released in Songkran Day ceremonySOURCE: – DATE: 13th April 2016

On the 13th of April, 2016, the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and its partners hosted the 7th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Release Ceremony on Songkran Day at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa (Mai Khao Beach, Phuket, Thailand).

Phuket Vice Governor Khajornkiet Rakpanichmanee was a guest of honour and participated in the Thai New Year celebration at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa. Furthermore, the Mai Khao Turtle Foundation has also organised exclusive turtle release programmes on the 15th and 16th of April 2016 together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for this year. The event was supported by the Phuket Marine Biological Centre and IUCN.

Songkran is also known as Thai New Year and sea turtles represent longevity in Thai culture and releasing animals to nature is believed to bring good luck to the participant. On this occasion, rehabilitated Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) stepped into the Andaman Sea, with Phuket residents and hotel guests cheering and waving them on.

Link to this web article online (English)

Mai Khao Marine Turtle Release



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