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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN
No. 46, 14th September 2012
1. Puerto Angel, Mexico: Natural spectacle in Mexico – 100,000 sea turtles return to Mexico's beaches to nest
SOURCE: www.nachrichten.t-online.de – DATE: 1st September 2012
This time of the year, approximately 100,000 female Olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) arrive at the La Escobilla Beach near Puerto Angel on the Pacific Ocean West Coast of Mexico for this year's nesting season. Due to effective protective measures, the Olive ridley sea turtle population of La Escobilla Beach is considered to be the largest in the world and the area has been declared a wildlife sanctuary. One female alone will lay between 80 and 160 eggs and after 1½ to 2 months the beach will be crawling with countless hatchlings making their way to the water.
Every year Mexico deploys its navy to the beach to guard the nesting grounds of this endangered sea turtle. Olive Ridley turtles are extremely vulnerable because they only nest in significant numbers on a few select beaches in Mexico, Costa Rica and India. Prior to 1990, before Mexico declared a total ban on killing sea turtles and outlawed the harvest of turtles and turtle eggs, the La Escobilla beach was a slaughter ground for the Olive Ridley. Despite the legal protection for the turtle population, people still desire their meat and eggs. In Mexico, turtle fat is sold as a cure for the common cold. Turtle meat is still a traditional meal eaten at some weddings and the eggs are supposed to heighten sexual powers.Watch the video online on youtube (German narrator)
2. Zoological Society of London (ZSL), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): 100 most endangered species: are they priceless or worthless?
SOURCE: www.iucn.org – DATE: 12th September 2012
For the first time ever, more than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) have come together to identify 100 of the most threatened animals, plants and fungi on the planet. But conservationists fear they'll be allowed to die out because none of these species provide humans with obvious benefits. The report, called ‘Priceless or Worthless?', was presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea today. The publication hopes to push the conservation of 'worthless' creatures up the agenda that is set by NGOs from around the globe. All the species listed are unique and irreplaceable if allowed to vanish. However, prompt action could give them a fighting chance for survival but this requires society to support the moral and ethical position. The 100 species, from 48 different countries are first in line to disappear completely if nothing is done to protect them. Five species of animals found in Vietnam are included:
Edward's pheasant (Lophura edwardsi), a species endemic to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Hue province, is one of the animals on the verge of extinct. With no confirmed sightings since 2000, it is unknown how many individuals remain in the wild.
Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) which occurs in the Annamite mountains, on the Viet Nam- PDR Laos border, is one of the most threatened mammals in Southeast Asia. Known as the Asian unicorn because of its rarity, the population of these antelope may be down to few tens of individuals today.
Red River giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is another Vietnamese native that clearly belongs on the list. This cultural icon may soon be lost forever as hunting and habitat destruction have devastated populations. Previously found throughout the Red River of Yunnan, China and Vietnam, the known global population now consists of four individuals.
Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) is a primate species endemic to northwestern Vietnam. It was thought to be extinct until 1989 when a small population was discovered in Na Hang District in Tuyen Quang Province of Vietnam. Sightings of the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey have become increasingly rare and it is estimated that the total populations may number only 200 individuals, making this primate one of "The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates."
Pangasid catfish (Pangasius sanitwongsei), a freshwater fish in the shark catfish family, is found in the Mekong basins of Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. It is unknown how many individuals remain in the wild but the species has seriously declined due to overfishing and collection for the pet trade.
The experts noted that the 100 species chosen are just a fraction of the thousands of species that also face extinction, just perhaps not as soon.