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No. 243, 15th July 2016

1. India: Woman caught smuggling rare tortoises at Dadar railway station
SOURCE: – DATE: 10th July 2016

On the 9th of July 2016 a woman was caught smuggling three Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) by the Dadar Railway Police Force (RPF) at Dadar Railway Station, Mumbai, India.

The tortoises were said to have been handed over to forest officials to be released in the wild.  While the woman would face action under the wildlife act after investigations.

Link to this web article online (English)

star tortoise


rescue a turtle


2. India: Tardeo resident's compassion gives turtle a second life
SOURCE: – DATE: 13th July 2016

The perseverance of a man named Viren Nagre helped a freshwater softshell turtle get a fresh lease of life. On the 5th of May, he found a turtle with fishing hook stuck in its throat at Umbergaon, Valsad, Gujarat India. He ran around for two days consulting veterinarians and managed to find an expert to remove the hook.

“If the hook had remained undetected, it could have caused the turtle's death due to starvation. Had it even tried to eat anything, it would have been extremely painful and the hook would have gotten pushed inside causing bleeding”, explained Dr Dinesh Vinherkar – an expert on turtles who treated and removed the hook from the turtle.

The vet has also praised Nagre for not leaving the turtle behind and taking so much trouble to get it treated, and also appealed to others that if they find such wild animals in distress, they should try and get maximum help for them.

Link to this web article online (English)

Eunotosaurus Africanus

© A. Atuchin

3. Why the turtle got its shell
SOURCE: – DATE: 14th July 2016

Turtle shells didn’t get their start as natural armour, it seems. The reptiles’ ancestors might have evolved partial shells to help them burrow instead, new research suggests. Only later did the hard body covering become useful for protection.

The findings might also help explain how turtles’ ancestors survived a mass extinction 250 million years ago that wiped out most plants and animals on earth, scientists report online on the 14th of July in Current Biology.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Sea turtle ‘hitchhikers’ could play an important role in conservation
SOURCE: – DATE: 15th July 2016

Recently, a team of researchers have described and studied the communities of epibionts living on three species of sea turtle in Las Baulas National Marine Park. Their work on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is part of a broader effort from scientists worldwide to characterize the epibiont communities of all seven sea turtle species throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

As they fill in the knowledge gaps about how sea turtle epibionts vary globally, they hope to figure out if and why different sea turtles from different geographic areas host different epibiont communities. Furthermore, it’s becoming clear that the creatures found on each sea turtle can tell a story about where that turtle has been and what it was doing there. The information encoded in each sea turtle’s unique set of hitchhikers can, in turn, help guide management decisions to protect these animals during their lives at sea.

Link to this web article online (English)

sea creature

© N. Robinson

sea creature

© S. Williamson

5. India: Man arrested for trying to sell Sand Boas, one tortoise
SOURCE: – DATE: 15th June 2016

Two Sand Boas and a tortoise were seized by Bharati Vidyapeeth Police station in Pune, Maharashtra, India on Wednesday night (the 13th of July 2016) from an accused who was about to trade the snake for Rs 4.5 lakh ($6,675).

"Feng Shui has given rise to turtle/tortoise trade. Also, Sand Boas are sold because of blind faith. It is believed that if one possesses this snake, s/he will strike some hidden treasure," Satyajeet Gujar, a deputy conservator of forests said.

Link to this web article online (English)

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