Asian Turtle Program
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No. 247, 12th July 2016

1. Vietnam: release of wild animals in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh province
SOURCE: – DATE: 7th August 2016

On the 7th of August 2016, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province, Vietam, reported that the Centre for Rescue, Conservation and Development of Organisms in collaboration with National Park’s Forest Protection Unit released rare wildlife back to nature. These animals had been either voluntarily handed over by local citizens or confiscated by Forest Protection Department from the illegal wildlife trade. The animals included 1 Masked Palm Civet (Paguma larvata), 2 Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), 3 Keeled Box Turtles (Cuora mouhotii), 2 Indochinese Box Turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), 1 Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti), 2 Assam Macaques (Macaca assamensis), 2 Stump-tailed Macaques (Macaca arctoides), 1 Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina), 1 Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta), 1 Small-toothed Ferret Badge (Melogale moschata).

ATP NOTE: if both Cuora galbinifrons and Cuora bourreti were released at the site this would not be ideal as it is still to be confirmed if both species occur at the site.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

turtle release


sea turtle

© Tran Mai


2. Vietnam: Border guards patrol and rescue sea turtles.
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th August 2016

Major Ngo Doan Tu of Binh Hai border guard station in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam, said that during recent patrolling section, the border guards rescued 6 live sea turtles from a group of local residents. These turtles were not in good conditions so the guards have been taking care of them before releasing them back to the sea. This was not the first time the officials in the station have rescued sea turtles. The officials here believe that “border guards bear the responsibility for patrolling to maintain peace in the country and for contributing to protecting the sea, particularly conserving endangered species”. Therefore, they organize weekly awareness activities on the protection of sea creatures for the community.

ATP NOTE: as seen from the pictures, the 6 rescued turtles include Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). Without adequate facilities to maintain marine turtles release might be the best option for their survival.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. The USA: Scientists Work to Boost Western Pond Turtle Population
SOURCE: - DATE: the 8th of August 2016

Scientists are hoping that a new conservation program will help restore the dwindling Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata) population in the Marin Headlands (Marin County, California, the USA).

Jessie Bushell, the director of conservation at the San Francisco Zoo said, “They are very hard to see due to their brown colour and are not present in the Marin Headlands”. The San Francisco Zoo, along with other partners, is carefully raising Western Pond Turtles to release back into the wild.

But a problem remains. The hatchlings are small and become an easy target of Bullfrog. Therefore, the turtles should be kept for head-starting until they grow to two or three-year-old, before being released. Experts at the San Francisco Zoo say it could take a decade before they get a self-sustaining population re-established in Marin County.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. The USA: Wildlife officials urge people to stop painting endangered turtle shells
SOURCE: – DATE: 9th August 2016

Wildlife officials in Florida (the USA) have urged people to not illustrate the shells of a threatened tortoise species after several animals were found daubed with paint.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released photos of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) that were painted red and a shade of turquoise. The FWC said the “illegally painted” tortoises were at risk from paint fumes and from toxins that could be absorbed into the bloodstream via the shell.

Deborah Burr, gopher tortoise program coordinator at FWC, said five painted tortoises, from across the state, have been reported in recent months.

Link to this web article online (English)

painted tortoise

© M. Lotz

Gopher tortoise relocation

© G. Kuchling


5. Australia: Relocating Australian tortoise sets controversial precedent
SOURCE: – DATE: 11th August 2016

As long as it has been known to science, the diminutive Western Swamp Tortoise has been in peril. By the time it was formally named in 1901- using a decades-old museum specimen - Pseudemydura umbrina was presumed extinct. And since it was rediscovered in the 1950s, biologists have struggled to protect it from the twin threats of habitat loss and introduced predators, which drove its numbers to bottom out at just 30 individuals in the 1980s. Now that climate change poses an even more urgent threat to the endangered tortoise, biologists have a controversial plan to safeguard its future - by moving it to new sites (the outskirts of Perth, Australia) outside of its known historical range. The translocation, which took place on the 11th of August 2016, makes the tortoise the first vertebrate to be deliberately relocated because of climate change.

Link to this web article online (English)


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