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No. 53, 4th November 2012


1. PETCO involved in Chinese Turtle-Meat Trade?

SOURCE: - DATE: 26th October 2012

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging the public to beware of PETCO's "Turtle Relinquishment Program"—a deceptively named ploy to essentially solicit free turtles from unsuspecting people in order to funnel them back into the pet trade, through a meat farm! Capitalizing on a recent rash of pet turtle–related cases of salmonella poisoning in humans, the pet store chain has announced that anyone can bring a turtle of any size to its stores. PETCO then ships those turtles to its own vendor, Concordia Turtle Farm in Louisiana, which has said that it will treat the turtles for salmonella.

PETA claims that the Concordia Turtle Farm exports 80 percent of its turtles overseas—mostly to China, where they are grown larger before slaughtered for meat. Although it's unclear whether the relinquished turtles will end up on Chinese plates, this business deal brings up several important questions. Why would PETCO ally itself with a meat-trade supplier? And if it's "concerned" about human health, why is the company selling turtles in the first place?

ATP Note: some of the views in the article are strong and possibly exaggerated due to PETA's sometimes-extreme stance on animal welfare.


Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)



2. China: Huge deposit of Jurassic turtle remains found in China

SOURCE: PHYS ORG; - DATE: 29th October 2012

1,800 fossilized mesa chelonia turtles from the Jurassic era were found in China's northwest province of Xinjiang. Today one of the world's driest regions, the findings suggest that 160 million years ago the region was a green place of lakes and rivers, bursting with life. It is believed that the turtles had gathered in one of the remaining waterholes during a very dry period, awaiting rain. Today's turtles in Australia for instance do the same thing. But for the Xinjiang turtles, the rain came too late. Many of the turtles were already dead and their bodies rotting. When the water arrived, it came with a vengeance: a river of mud, washing the turtles and sediments along with it and dumping them in one place, as the paleontologists read the site and its layers of stone. The large number of turtles allows the researchers to make a first statistical analysis of Asian turtles in the Jurassic period. Their simultaneous death and preservation makes it possible to compare variability, growth, and morphological differences among the species.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)



3. Taiwan: Rescued hawksbill turtles returned to sea in Yilan

SOURCE: Focus Taiwan News Channel; - DATE: 29th October 2012

Two injured hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) recently captured off eastern Taiwan's Yilan County were released Monday after rehabilitation at the National Taiwan Ocean University. Among the two, one was found in open water off the country's coast with damaged front flipper, and one was rescued by a group of fishermen. The turtles began to show signs of recovery after passing plastic, fishing net and dead insects, said Cheng I-jiunn, a professor of the university's Institute of Marine Biology, which took them into care. The endangered animals were treated with antibiotics by the National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital before being returned to the sea.

Link to this web article online (English)



4. Cu Lao Cham Sea Reserve, Quang Nam province, Vietnam: Hawksbill sea turtle found

SOURCE: Tiền Phong Online; - DATE: 31st October 2012

A critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) was found in Cu Lao Cham (Quang Nam province) by two fishermen and transferred to the managers of Cu Lao Cham Marine Park. Cu Lao Cham is part of the Cham Islands Biosphere Reserve which was recognized as a global Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2009 for its rich biodiversity.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



5. Andhra Pradesh district , India: Forest officials seize 400 smuggled turtles at Anakapalle

SOURCE: The Hindu Online; - DATE: 2nd November 2012

On Thursday, the 1st November an accident on the highway on the outskirts of Anakapalle town brought to light the illegal transport of more than 400 Indian flap shell turtles (Lissemys punctata), which are listed as a Schedule I species under the Indian Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. The turtles, packed in 39 gunny bags were placed underneath a load of fish in a van having West Bengal registration number. The van overturned while negotiating a curve and the load of fish and bags containing turtles fell out. The driver and cleaner of the van fled the scene. Traffic police collected the bags of turtles, some of which had crawled out, and sent them to Indira Gandhi Zoological Park. Forest officials suspect turtles are being smuggled to West Bengal from where they are sent to Thailand and Malaysia by sea due to huge demand for turtle meat and shells. “The flap shell turtles are also called mud turtles and found in ponds, tanks, and steams. The turtles, needing moisture all the time, have all survived that were recovered from the van. Rains during the last two days might have provided them the needed moisture,” said Zoo Park curator G. Ramlingam. After the court's permission and the turtles' recovery the zoo will release them into their natural habitat as early as possible.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)



6. Pu Mat National Park, Nghe An province, Vietnam: Turtles reintroduced to the wild

SOURCE: Dân Trí News Online; - DATE: 3rd November 2012

After some wildlife (monkeys, turtles, softshell turtles and tortoises) were seized in Nghe An officials released the animals on the 1 st of November into Pu Mat National Park. 7 Indochinese box turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), 4 Four-eyed turtles (Sacalia quadriocellata), 13 big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), 1 Orange-headed turtle (Heosemys grandis), 8 Impressed tortoises (Manouria impressa), 14 Striped-necked leaf turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii) , 1 Yellow-headed temple turtles (Heosemys annandalii) and 2 Wattle-necked softshell turtle (Palea steindachneri) were released in the protected area.

ATP Note: the Heosemys annandalii and Heosemys grandis are not native to the national park and highlight the need for better coordination between national parks and species specialists when considering release or placement options.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



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