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No. 37, 15th July 2012

1. China: Shelling out

DATE: 12th June 2012

In China, exotic pets have become one of the latest fads, including the endangered Chinese box turtle (Cuora flavomarginata), a former restaurant delicacy. The Chinese box turtle has always been in high demand in China. The shells were prized for their use in fortune telling and traditional medicine, while restaurants valued the flesh as a hotpot delicacy. The latest incarnation for the creatures as pets has only served to increase demand and prices. "The turtles are so expensive because of their rarity," said Liu Xiaoxu, a licensed seller of the turtles online, who claims that he is selling the turtles for around 1,000 yuan ($157) each. Most species of the Asian box turtle genus have been listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red list as "at risk." The article reminds people that creatures taken out of their own natural habitats, or kept in unfamiliar conditions can suffer, while owners who are unaware of the hidden risks can receive injuries or illness.

Link to this web article online (English)


Quang Binh: Chairman of Quang Binh People's Committee sued for fining turtle traders

SOURCE: - DATE: 13th July 2012

The chairman of Quang Binh's People's Committee (PC) decided to fine Tien Hau Co. Ltd, an business which farm Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and their driver 250 million VND each (approximately $12000) for transporting 608 Chinese soft-shell turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis) from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi without permission papers. The chairman fined the company because wild animals of this species are protected by law . However, Mr. Tran Dinh Quyet, the director of Tien Hau company is disputing the fine and will sue the Chairman of Quang Binh PC.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



Trinidad: Trinidad leatherback turtle hatchlings crushed

DATE: 10th July 2012

Thousands of leatherback turtle eggs (Dermochelys coriacea) and hatchlings have been crushed by bulldozers on Trinidad's northern coast. Government work crews were redirecting the Grand Riviere, a shifting river that was threatening a hotel where tourists from around the globe watch the huge endangered turtles lay their eggs. Environmentalists say workers botched the job and destroyed some 20,000 eggs. The mile-long stretch of beach is regarded as a leading nesting sites for the biggest of all sea turtles. Although local authorities are known to be quite concerned about the turtle nesting areas, this time, phone calls to the cell phones of Trinidad's ministers of public works and tourism rang unanswered and conservationists regret that the government is not as aware of the need to protect its natural resources as many of its citizens.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


4. China: China launches piranha hunt after attacks

DATE: 12th July 2012

A hunt has begun for piranhas in a river by the Chinese city of Liuzhou, after two people were bitten in the water over the weekend. Usually indigenous to South American rivers, it is suspected some of the flesh-eating specimens may have been released into the lake by people who had smuggled them into the country as pets. Local authorities have now announced a reward of $157 to anyone who catches one - dead or alive.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

FOLLOW UP: China's Liuzhou city cancels piranha hunt as fish don't bite bait

SOURCE: – DATE: 13th July 2012

Authorities in China's Liuzhou city have called off the hunt for piranhas from a local river after the flesh-eating fish failed to take the bait. The city offered 1,000 yuan ($157) reward for each piranha caught after the fish reportedly bit two men. Although there has been criticism that the river's ecosystem might be damaged by the frantic fishing the government's announcement unleashed, officials have insisted the campaign was launched after careful consideration. Chinese state media say Liuzhou's municipal government announced the hunt should end at 18:00 local time (10:00GMT) Friday. The decision to call off the hunt was made to protect local fish stocks, say officials.

Link to this web article online (English)



Philippines: Fourteen sea turtles saved from Chinese poachers

SOURCE: - DATE: 15th July 2012

On Saturday (14th July) a team of Philippine naval and environmental department officials were able to save fourteen out of fifteen endangered sea turtles caught by Chinese poachers. Relations between the Chinese and Philippine governments have become strained when Philippine authorities this past April attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen for catching sea turtles and other marine animals protected under Philippine law. According to the Philippine law, the penalty for catching sea turtles is at least 12 years in prison.

Link to this web article online (English)


Ha Tinh province, Vietnam: Seizure of illegal turtle transport

DATE: 14th July 2012

In the afternoon of July 13th, Ha Tinh province authorities discovered an illegal turtle shipment. After realizing that the police would search the truck, the owner of the shipment took cover behind two bags in which he hid nine Impressed tortoises (Manouria impressa) and 12 Big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum). ATP NOTE: both species are fully protected under national law Decree 32/2006/ND-CP. Currently, the authorities are still investigating the case. However, after Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a local NGO, followed up on the case and contacted Ha Tinh Forest Protection Department (FPD), they discovered that the provincial FPD had received the turtles from the economic customs department on 10 th July. Four turtles had already died and were destroyed by the FPD. The following day, the remains of the turtles were sold for three million VND (~$143).

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


Quang Ninh province, Vietnam: Young people volunteer to clean beaches for sea turtle conservation

DATE: 15th July 2012

On the 13th of July 2012, hundreds of volunteers helped cleaning the Co To beach (Quang Ninh province) in order to protect the local sea turtles. The event was organized by the Ministry of Culture – Sport and Tourism and IUCN, attracting a large crowd of observers. “Sea turtles extremely endangered by human activities, poaching of eggs, pollution, trash and nylon bags. If the turtles eat these nylon bags by accident, they would die” said Ms Bui Thi Thu Hien, the program coordinator for the marine and coastal project department.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



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