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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 59, 15th December 2012

 

1. Bali islands, Indonesia: 33 endangered turtles saved from Bali smugglers

SOURCE: Boston Globe online newspaper; www.boston.com - DATE: 10th December 2012

Police in Bali have seized 33 endangered green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) believed to have been poached to be sold to restaurants on the Indonesian resort island. The turtles weighed between 30 and 60 kilograms and were worth between 5 million and 7 million rupiah ($518-$725) each, said Soemarsono, head of the local government-run Nature Conservancy Agency. They measured between 30 centimetres and 1 metre in length. "Some of them are sick because of dehydration," he said. The policemen are still looking for the suspected poachers.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

 

2. Phuket, Thailand: Turtle egg find floats hope of leatherbacks returning to Phuket region

SOURCE: Phuket Gazette online; phuketgazette.net - DATE: 13th December 2012

Hopes that turtles are returning to their traditional nesting sites along the Andaman Coast soared as a second clutch of leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) eggs was discovered on Tai Muang Beach in Phang Nga, just north of Phuket, within an eight day period. The discovery of the nest on Tuesday follows a leatherback turtle being spotted laying eggs on the beach on the 3rd of December. However, officers at the Khao Lampi – Hat Thai Mueang National Park, where both nests were created, believe that the two clutches of eggs were laid by different turtles.“ The turtle spotted on the 3rd of December was 2.12 meters long, but tracks left in the sand from this second turtle indicate that it is much smaller animal than the first one,” said park officer Witoon Detpramuanphol. The nest discovered by local villagers early Tuesday morning was located about 500 meters from where the first turtle was spotted on the 3rd of December. Mr Witoon said that he and fellow park officers will be monitoring the area in the hope that the turtles will return to lay more eggs. “We believe that the first turtle will come back to lay more eggs sometime between today and Saturday, as leatherback turtles usually lay eggs twice, about 10 days apart,” he said. “The first turtle laid 131 eggs – 99 of them had been fertilized, and 32 were undeveloped. We removed the fertilized eggs to a safe place near our checkpoint so our officers can look after them and keep them safe from predators, man or otherwise,” Mr Witoon explained. “The number of people visiting Mai Khao and development in the area have forced many turtles to lay their eggs elsewhere,” he added.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

3. Hanoi city, Vietnam: Hoan Kiem lake turtle surfaced

SOURCE: Vietnam Express Breaking news online; vnexpress.net - DATE: 13th December 2012

On the morning of the 13 th December the Swinhoe's softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) surfaced near the lake border for a relatively long period and swam towards the The Huc Bridge. The turtle seemed healthy. This attracted the general public around the lake.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

 

4. Shan state, Myanmar: New turtle and tortoise facilities opened by Turtle Survival Alliance

SOURCE: Turtle Survival Alliance blog; turtlesurvival.org - DATE: 13th December 2012

Myanmar's first turtle and tortoise rescue facility (TRC) was dedicated on the 6th of December, at the Zeepin Forest Reserve, Ban Bwe Tree Nursery, about 17 miles east of May Myo town, in Shan State. TSA President Rick Hudson who handed over the keys to the new TRC said “It is our sincere hope that this facility will offer new hope to thousands of turtles and tortoises confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade.”. The TRC is located along the Lashio Road which leads to China, and is a major trade route for illegally harvested wildlife coming out of Mandalay heading for the border.
The central unit of the TRC is an 800 square foot open-air building designed for treating and handling large numbers of chelonians. Tubs and sinks are built in to the counter tops, equipped with hoses and showerheads, and there is room for holding plastic tubs and tanks with turtles. The water supply is spring fed to a holding cistern, and then pumped to an elevated tank, and gravity fed to the facility. Just outside the treatment facility are 10 fenced enclosures, each 25 x 20 ft, with shade and secure retreats for terrestrial turtles and tortoises.
The TRC is expected to host various activities. It also supports an Assurance Colony facility for Burmese Mountain Tortoises (Manouria e. phayrei).

Link to this web article online (English)

 

5. Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam: An illegal wildlife storage revealed

SOURCE: Pháp luật online news; phapluat.vn - DATE: 14th December 2012

On the 13th December 2012, officers of the city Forest Protection Department and the Wildlife Crime Prevention and Defence unit carried out an unannounced raid in unnumbered house in Da Phuoc commune, Binh Chanh district and dicsovered a great number of wildlife. Animals found in the house included a yellow-checked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae), 5 large Asiatic softshell turtles (Amyda cartilaginea) -local name is “Cua đinh”, and 29 Asian palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphrodites). They were confiscated and transferred to the Cu Chi Rescue Centre where they will be held until suitable release sites are found.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)
 

 

6. Nghe An province, Vietnam: 80 kg of wildlife confiscated

SOURCE: Tuoi Tre Online news; tuoitre.vn - DATE: 15th December 2012

Acting on a tip-off by local people, the Market Administration Team No.4 in Quynh Luu district pulled over a car on highway 1A in the morning of the 15th December 2012. The team discovered that the car, bearing a Loatian license plate, was transporting 80kg of wild animals and other wildlife products including a live 16kg Asian golden cat (Pardofelis temminckii) and 6 turtles, 15 kg of macaque bone and 40 kg of antlers. The animals and remains were confiscated because the driver, Le Thanh Tram, Do Thanh ward, Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province, failed to provide legal papers for them.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

 

7. Galapagos Island, Ecuador: On the road to recovery: Darwin's Galapagos tortoise threatened with extinction now number more than 1,000

SOURCE: Daily Mail Online news; dailymail.co.uk - DATE: 15th December 2012

In the 1970s there were just 15 Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra) left in the world. But now it appears that the tide has turned for the rare creatures and thanks to a successful breeding programme there are more than 1,000 on the islands. The tortoises which helped inspire Charles Darwin's theories of evolution were virtually extinct - but thanks to pioneering work the future looks much less bleak. There are now thought to be more than 1,000 tortoises on the islands of Santa Cruz, Santiago, Pinzen, and Espanola.
The iconic species was all but wiped out by the actions of the human population throughout the 20th century. After running out of tortoises to eat, sailors introduced goats to the island and their numbers multiplied rapidly, destroying the island's vegetation. The remaining tortoises had to be taken into a captive breeding environment while the goat population was culled. But there is renewed hope that the giant tortoise will flourish now that population numbers have increased and the species appears to have become part of the ecosystem once again.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

 
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