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No. 241, 1st July 2016

1. Singapore: Man caught trying to smuggle 22 star tortoises into Singapore
SOURCE: – DATE: 27th June 2016

A man was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore on Thursday (the 23rd of June 2016) trying to smuggle 22 alive Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) into Singapore.

The tortoises were kept in a bag and placed among bags of groceries in a car boot, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) in a joint statement on Monday (the 27th of June 2016).

The species is CITES listed and the individual could be fined unto S$50,000 per animal to a maximum of S$500,000.

Link to this web article online (English)

Indian Star Tortoise


online trade


2. Vietnam: Illicit online wildlife trade increased at a dizzying pace: increased 324% compared to 2013
SOURCE: - DATE: 22nd June 2016

Information provided by the Education for Nature (ENV) on the 22nd of June 2016 highlights that in the past few years, illicit wildlife trading on the Internet is increasing at the high rate.

Over recent years, internet wildlife trading has increased quickly to become more and more prevalent, and has become a new means to conduct wildlife crime which causes ENV serious concern. A variety of wild animals are advertised every day online, often with traders’ full information attached. From 2008 to June 2016, The Wildlife Unit of ENV has recorded a shocking number of 1,551 online violations, in which 885 violations belonged to 2014 let alone.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

3. River Terrapins Hatch Throughout Asia
SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd June 2016

Throughout Asia, from remote nesting beaches to captive breeding facilities, River Terrapins (genus Batagur) have recently completed their hatching season. More information can be found following the link summarising information from the countries where the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) works on Batagur recovery programs including India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

The River Terrapins (Batagur) comprise six species of large, impressive, and at least in some species, spectacularly coloured, turtles that once plied the great rivers and estuaries of southern Asia from the Indian Subcontinent to the islands of Indonesia. With five out of the six species listed as Critically Endangered or recommended for CR listing on the IUCN Red List, the six Batagur species have been a major conservation priority for TSA since its first field programs began in Asia.

Link to this web article online (English)

Batagur species


Batagur species


baby sea turtle

© J. Satore

4. Malaysia: Watch a baby sea turtle being hypnotised so we can weigh it
SOURCE: – DATE: 24th June 2016

Baby sea turtles are an energetic bunch, which causes a real headache for researchers who want to gather measurements from these tiny, squirming subjects.

Mohd Uzair’s team at the University of Malaysia Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia studies how hatchlings use their energy reserves while they escape their nest. This information is important for improving conservation practices, but to get this they need to be able to measure young turtles.

The team has now found a trick for putting the baby turtles into a trance to safely study them. Mohd Uzair tried flipping turtles onto their backs, closing their eyes and gently pressing on their chests with one finger. And it works – the technique makes baby turtles freeze for an average of 25 seconds, long enough to take precise measurements without harming them.

Link to this web article online (English)

desert tortoise

© L. Kurikimili

5. The USA: In the battle of desert tortoise vs. Marines, the tortoise wins — for now
SOURCE: – DATE: 27th June 2016

Troops sent to the Marine Corps’s sprawling base in the Mojave Desert, California, the USA for advanced combat training are warned sternly about an unbreakable rule: no harming the desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) or leaving behind food crumbs that are likely to attract ravens, the arch-predator of tortoises.

To further protect the creatures with the high-domed shells on their backs, certain areas of the base are off-limits. And to prop up the tortoise population on base, the Marines have teamed with UCLA for the past decade to run an on-base hatchery.

Yet a battle is brewing between the Marines and the tortoises - or, really, their environmental advocates - that shows how even a fast-moving fighting force must sometimes give way to some of the slowest creatures on Earth.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. These Four Resorts Offer Some of the Best Turtle Conservation Programs
SOURCE: – DATE: 30th June 2016

Of the seven species of sea turtles in the world, five are listed by the World Wildlife Fund as endangered or critically endangered. Thankfully, several tropical resorts are doing their part to protect these graceful sea creatures. The following four tropical resorts, namely Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort in Antigua, Las Alamandas in Mexico, Wilderness Collection North Island in Seychelles, and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman offer some of the very best turtle preservation and rehabilitation programs. 

Link to this web article online (English)

baby sea turtle

© Robb Report


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