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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 246, 5th August 2016

1. India: 500 live tortoises seized at Chennai airport
SOURCE: timesofindia.indiatimes.com – DATE: 30th July 2016

Customs and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) officials seized 500 live tortoises at the Chennai airport (Tamil Nadu, India) on Thursday night (28th July 2016). The tortoises were to be smuggled to Malaysia on a Thai Airways flight.

The live tortoises were packed in 56 cloth bags and were concealed under dead crabs. The seized tortoises will be released in the Guindy National Park (Tamil Nadu, India). Further investigation in the case would be taken up by the bureau, stated Deputy director of WCCB S R V Murthy.

ATP NOTE: As seen from the picture, the turtles appear to be Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans).

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle confiscation

© timesofindia.indiatimes.com

turtle confiscation

© SECVPF

 

2. India: Rare haul of Malaysian tortoises in city
SOURCE: dtnext.in – DATE: 3rd August 2016

In a reversal of the standard smuggling pattern, a Ramanathapuram-based passenger tried to smuggle a live cargo of 3,000 tortoises. However, alert officials at Chennai Customs (Tamil Nadu, India) seized them, and deported them.

On the 2nd of August 2016, Customs officials found the live tortoises stuffed in the suitcases of Habeeb (48), who had arrived in Chennai by an early morning flight from Malaysia. Customs officials intercepted Habeeb when he was coming out of the customs clearance area and interrogated him. He later admitted to have carried the live cargo. Customs officials said as per the Animal Quarantine rules, live cargo are not to be allowed to land in the country and should be deported.

ATP NOTE: As seen from the picture, the turtles appear to be Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

Link to this web article online (English)

3. Reptile Experts Warn Against Buying Certain Type of Tortoise
SOURCE: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com – DATE: 3rd August 2016

A warning Wednesday evening about the increasing popularity of a certain type of tortoise - African spurred tortoises (Centrochelys sulcata), commonly referred to as sulcatas - that could leave pet owners in an alarming predicament.

Rescue groups are advising people to stop buying that type of tortoise as keeping these tortoises can come with a huge downside. They can live for over 100 years and grow to weight up to 115kg, a long term responsibility to look after.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Kenya: Saving the endangered sea turtle from extinction
SOURCE: standardmedia.co.ke – DATE: 4th August 2016

While conservation efforts have always been geared toward saving the big species — lions, elephants and rhinos on land - man’s cruelty towards nature now extends to the deep waters.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, sea turtles face extinction and are placed among the endangered species in need of special protection. “They are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear,” says WWF. They are also victims of climate change as global warming raises the sand temperatures interfering with their nesting. Sea turtles are found at the Coast, next to top tourist resorts. Thus, any conservation efforts must involve the local tour operators.

Link to this web article online (English)

sea turtle

© standardmedia.co.ke

genetic code

© Plos.blog

5. Speedy the tortoise and altering the genetic code
SOURCE: phys.org - DATE: 5th August 2016

According to a paper from 2008 in the Journal of Molecular Evolution by R. David Russell and Andrew T. Beckenbach, a few species of birds and turtles/tortoises, one genus of ants, the eastern oyster, and a glass sponge can bypass certain types of mutations in their mitochondrial genomes. (Mitochondria are the organelles that extract energy from nutrients, and they have their own tiny genomes).

Specifically, chickens, Parker's Snake-neck Turtles (Chelodina parkeri), the Red-eared Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), and Sulcata tortoises (Centrochelys sulcata) like Speedy can survive a frameshift mutation that disrupts the 3-bases-in-a-row pattern of genetic information, or ignore inappropriate "stop" signals in a DNA base sequence.

It is believed that we have something to learn from how the protein synthetic machinery of some birds, turtles, and tortoises can seemingly glide right over genetic errors.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

 
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