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No. 54, 11th November 2012


1. Kuala Lumpur city, Malaysia: Sabah foundation gets turtle conservation boost

SOURCE: The Star online news; - DATE: 3rd November 2012

Malaysia's marine turtle population is set to be given an added conservation boost with the approval of a US$20,000 (RM61,000) Taiwanese grant to Sabah-based Marine Research Foundation (MRF). Its executive director Dr Nicolas J. Pilcher said his work, which focused on laparoscopy studies, played a critical role in determining accurate long-term conservation methods. The studies, conducted at sea, helped researchers determine the sex of turtles as well as level of maturity useful for studying general population growth.

Dr Pilcher explained that the laparoscopy studies he had conducted since 2006 had helped improve an imbalanced turtle population at Mantanani, Sabah, which had an alarming 93% female population. Previously, sea turtle hatcheries had cut down all the trees in the area where the eggs were laid, leading to uniform sand temperatures resulting in a female biased hatchling ratio due to temperature dependant sex determination.

Link to this web article online (English)




2. Dhaka city, Bangladesh: 73 rare turtles seized at airport

SOURCE: The Daily Star online newspaper; - DATE: 6th November 2012

On Monday the 5th November security personnel and customs officials seized 73 rare turtles, strapped in four cloth sacks at Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh. The police failed to arrest the carrier who left his luggage in the departure lounge at the airport but detained two of his associates and a bus driver.
The turtles were being smuggled to either Thailand or Singapore, said an airport official. Officers of the forest department later identified the turtles as three endangered species including Tricarinate hill turtles (Melanochelys tricarinata), a species also known as the Shila Turtle in India, Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) and black pond turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) also known as Kali turtles.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport has developed into a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking and intelligence sources say that most likely employees of different agencies at the airport are involved in the smuggling cases. Available data show that since 2010, about 1,000 endangered turtles and tortoises were seized at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from passengers, who were arrested after they got security clearance for boarding flights.


Link 1 to this web article online (English)

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3. Galapagos: Raptor centre helps tortoises in Galapagos

SOURCE: The Minnesota Daily online newspaper; - DATE: 6th November 2012

The University of Minnesota's Raptor Centre director travelled to the Galapagos island of Pinzón on Thursday to support continuing efforts to preserve the endangered Pinzón giant tortoise population. Workers from the Raptor Center will temporarily capture the Galapagos hawks that prey off a population of invasive black rats. Scientists will poison the rats, which have threatened the tortoise population by eating its eggs and hatchlings. Since 2010 raptor experts have been working in the Galapagos to help the hawks avoid second hand poisoning. The rats were accidentally introduced to the islands by pirates and whalers during the 17th and 18th centuries. Scientists have worked to preserve the tortoise population by raising the hatchlings in captivity and releasing them once they are too large for the rats to eat.

Link to this web article online (English)




4. Quang Ninh province, Vietnam: 40 Keeled box turtles seized

SOURCE: Quang Ninh online news; - DATE: 7th November 2012

On the 7th November, patrolling policemen discovered 40 Keeled box turtles (Coura mouhotii), weighing about 30 kg on a dump truck heading to Ha Long bay in Quang Ninh province. The case was reported and the animals were transferred to the Cam Pha city Forest Protection Department.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)




5. India: Odisha's Ridley Concern: Government directs departments to protect Sea Turtles

SOURCE: HOTnHIT News features; - DATE: 7th November 2012

Odisha, being the only maritime state in India with several mass nesting (arribada) sites, continues to attract large numbers of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) to its coasts. An official release from the Odisha Government says that about 50% of the world's population of Olive Ridley turtles and 90% of the Indian population of sea turtles nest on Odishan coasts . Officials also claim that the estimated population of Olive Ridley turtles along the Odisha coast has constantly been growing over the last decade. In the past the high mortality rate of turtles nesting in the area has been a primary concern of conservationists and wildlife lovers but because of protection measures taken by the Government in coordination with local people and voluntary organizations, there has been a sharp decline in sea turtle causalities over last decade.
As the Olive Ridley turtle's mating and nesting season has already started and turtles have started appearing in the coastal seas of Odisha, the government has become more concerned about their protection and urges all coastal forest divisions, wild life headquarters, marine police stations, fishery department and coast guards to work hand in hand to ensure another successful nesting season.

Link to this web article online (English)


6. Fiji: Indiscriminate turtle slaughter

SOURCE: The Fiji Times ONLINE; - DATE: 8th November 2012

In the Republic of Fiji sea turtles are traditionally slaughtered for ceremonies and special events. Therefore, the killing of turtles on Fiji is closely monitored by the government and nature protection agencies. However, turtle numbers continue to drop and many species are on the verge of extinction. According to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) marine species co-ordinator Thomas Tui the nesting period for all species of turtles is set from September to May each year and this is a strictly no-take period as outlined in The Fisheries Act Cap 158 and its amendment regulation (Protection of Turtles Regulation). From June to August, a permit may be acquired through the Ministry of Fisheries for turtle harvesting strictly for significant traditional events like the installation of district or paramount chief or the death of a chief.
Despite protective legislation, some people continue to slaughter turtles for trivial events even without government approval although anyone caught breaching the law is liable to either pay a fine of not more than $500 or three months imprisonment or both.
Mr Tui said that the government together with partners put together the Fiji National Sea Turtle Recovery Plan and imposed the Turtle Moratorium recognising the importance of turtles but these efforts may come to nothing without the support of communities.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

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7. Quang Binh province, Vietnam: Leatherback sea turtle caught and released

SOURCE: Dân trí online newspaper; - DATE: 10th November, 2012

On 9 th November, a fisherman caught a Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) weighing over 300 kg in his fishing net. After receiving the information, the local authorities coordinated with the fisherman to release the healthy turtle back into the sea without being harmed.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


8. Hanoi city, Vietnam: Nearly 400 juvenile softshell turtles found

SOURCE: Phap Luat & Xa Hoi online news; - DATE: 9th November, 2012

On 8th November, Hanoi policemen pulled over a suspicious car which was on its way from Yen Bai province to Hai Duong province and discovered nearly 400 juvenile softshell turtles (unknown species) wrapped in different bags. The driver failed to present the certificate of origin for the turtles. The animals were seized and the 3 men involved in the case were arrested for further investigation.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


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