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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 64, 27th January 2013


1.
Quang Tri province, Vietnam: 75 kg of wildlife confiscated on the move

SOURCE: Công an nhân dân; cand.vn
DATE: 27th January 2013

On January 26th, a Laotian bus, on its usual route from Savanakhet in Laos to Da Nang city in central Vietnam, was pulled over in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province as authorities suspected that the bus was carrying illegal wildlife. And indeed, Huong Hoa district FPD had made the right decision to check the bus as they confiscated 60 kg of snakes, 12 kg of softshells (unknown species) and 3 kg striped-necked leaf turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii). Báo Lao Động reported that the animals were released to the forest the day after the confiscation.



Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


2. Australia: New map shows turtle nest spots cut off by conflict, at risk as globe warms

SOURCE: phys.org - DATE: 25th January 2013

Sea turtles, already endangered by fishing and coastal development, are also threatened by climate change because they need very specific conditions for reproduction. Even slight changes in heat and moisture can prevent their soft-shelled eggs from hatching. As global warming makes some popular nesting spots too hot or dry for many sea turtles, researchers say it is crucial to develop an accurate picture of where conditions are right for turtles to safely lay eggs. A list of potential nesting spots could act as a starting point for research into how habitats change as the globe warms. "The problem with a lot of the nesting sites is that there are conflicts there or they are in very remote places like northern Australia. There are nesting sites in Eastern Africa and places like Somalia, but there is a lot of conflict there and it's hard for researchers to get in," said Dr David Pike, a turtle expert from James Cook University. To address the problem, Dr Pike used computer modelling to pinpoint places in the world where climate conditions are right for sea turtles to lay their eggs. The map of potential nesting spots also highlights sites that have previously gone unstudied but may well be worth a field visit, he said. "Demographic modelling has already made us acutely aware of the need to protect all the life history stages of turtles – from egg to mature adult," said Ms Williams, a PhD student under Dr. Pike's instruction, who was not involved in the modelling. "By modelling the location of nest sites, Dr Pike's research provides vital information on the ecological geography of sea turtles. It also allows us to begin to gauge just how severely species may be affected by climate change in the future."

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

 

3. Queensland, Australia: A loggerhead turtle dubbed the Comeback Queen is helping researchers unlock some of the mysteries of her species

SOURCE: Couriermail.com.au
DATE: 21st January 2013

The endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) is thought to be about 65 and has laid more than 13,000 eggs, with as few as one in 1,000 of her offspring reaching adulthood. Dubbed the Comeback Queen, she is the star of the world's longest-running turtle study program, having laid eggs at the Mon Repos turtle rookery near Bundaberg city in Queensland, Australia since the 1970s. Environment Department chief scientist (aquatic threatened species) Dr Col Limpus has recorded her ashore 107 times for nesting, her last appearance a week ago. The supermom's fertility has raised questions over where she lives when she is not breeding and why her clutch numbers are rising from about 125 eggs up to 165 as she gets older. The Comeback Queen and two or three others are teaching the world about their species, such as how long they can live, how often they lay eggs and their level of egg production. Dr Limpus has tracked more than 20 loggerhead turtles and is starting to build up sufficient information to provide definitive answers to issues such as how turtles find their way home after nearly always going to the same beach to lay their eggs.



Link to this web article online (English)

 

4. Costa Rica: Illegal Fishing Suspect in Costa Rica Turtle Death

SOURCE: abc News - abcnews.go.com
DATE: 23rd January 2013

The Costa Rican government says illegal fishing activities could be the cause of 280 sea turtles washing up dead on Monday in the Gulf of Dulce off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Along with. Kemp's ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) and Galápagos green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii), both endangered species, other sea creatures had turned up dead along the coast, including sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and marlin. Environment ministry official Jackelyn Rivera says her agency has launched an investigation and ordered the Coast Guard to patrol the area more heavily in search of those responsible. Environmentalist Didier Chacon said Tuesday that the damage could have been done by long-line fishing, in which a rope with hooks is buoyed for miles to catch swordfish, but also snags other marine life in the process. Chacon said the method is illegal, especially in marine conservation areas such as the Gulf of Dulce.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (English)



5. Binh Dinh province, Vietnam: Ocean emissaries under threats

SOURCE: Báo Biên phòng; bienphong.com.vn - DATE: 23rd January 2013

Residents in Hai Giang hamlet, Nhon Hai commune, Quy Nhon city, Binh Dinh province have always been proud of the Hai Giang beach where many sea turtles nest every year. Three years ago a turtle guard team was established which aims to protect the turtles against the increasing demand for turtle meat and eggs. More specific, conservation activities include the observation of female turtles laying eggs, protecting and guarding the nests and assisting hatchlings on their way to the ocean. In the past Binh Dinh's residents never thought of eating turtles or their eggs because they respected and honoured the creatures. However, when a local started to slaughter turtles to make wine and special dishes, Binh Dinh's residents discovered how delicious turtle meat was and more people development the habit of eating turtle meat and eggs. Furthermore, the mining of Titanium from local beaches and snail farming have further threaten the turtles. Likewise, as tourism on Hon Kho island (Hai Giang hamlet) increases, turtles are regularly disturbed on their preferred nesting beach with not a single turtle nesting on the island in 2011. The Hon Kho People's Committee has now organized events to raise awareness about the conservation of the sea turtles that nest on the island.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

6. Florida state, USA: World's Rarest Sea Turtle Is New Resident at Sarasota Aquarium

SOURCE: Bradenton Patch, bradenton.patch.com - DATE: 25th January 2013

A new sea turtle named “Caleb” is now on exhibit publicly in The Sarasota Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory, which is providing the turtle a permanent home because it has impaired swimming abilities and cannot be returned to the wild. Caleb is the first Kemp's ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) — considered the most endangered sea turtle species on Earth — to become a permanent resident in Mote's exhibit, Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors. Caleb, a juvenile turtle weighing 20 pounds (~9kg) with an upper shell nearly 14 inches (~35.5cm) long , was rescued on the 9th of November 2011 on Ormond Beach (Volusia County, Florida) and brought to the Volusia County Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet town of the same state.



Link to this web article online (English)


7. Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil: Tortoise found alive in locked store room after thirty years

SOURCE: The Independent; independent.co.uk
DATE: 25th January 2013

A family in Brazil have expressed their joy at finding their pet tortoise, Manuela, more than thirty years after she went missing in 1982 and was never found despite an extensive and thorough search. The family assumed she must have escaped through the front door, after builders who were working on the house at the time had left it open. It was only after their father Leonel died earlier this month that the family started tidying and sorting his locked store room and made the discovery. Leandro, Leonel's son, was clearing out boxes from his father's locked second-floor store room, and was throwing out what he thought was just a box with an old record player, when a neighbour pointed out the tortoise. Experts believe that the tortoise survived by eating termites from the wooden floors. Rio de Janeiro vet Jeferson Pires explained that Manuela's red-footed species of tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) can go for long periods without food.

ATP's note: Although the story has appeared in many international media it is unlikely that the turtle could have survived so long locked up.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)




8. Bali island, Indonesia: Three arrested over green turtle trade

SOURCE: Time lives; timeslive.co.za
DATE: 22nd January 2013

Police on Indonesia's resort island of Bali arrested three people on Tuesday for alleged illegal trade of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). They also seized 13 turtles from a boat in the island's Tanjung Benoa harbour, the turtles were about 1 metre in length and estimated to be more than 50 years old, he said., according too local marine police chief Tubuh Musyareh. They were believed to have been caught off Sumbawa island (in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain). Soemarsono, head of Bali's Nature Conservancy Agency, said illegal trade in protected turtles had been on the rise: in December 2012, Bali police seized 33 endangered green and hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) believed to have been poached to be sold to restaurants. Some restaurants in Bali illegally sell turtle meat. Sea turtles are also commonly sacrificed in traditional Balinese Hindu ceremonies.


Link to this web article online (English)


9.
India: Tortoise loses a stone

SOURCE: Kent Online; kentonline.co.uk - DATE: 25th January 2013

Humphrey, a one-year old Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) weighing only 85 grams had been straining with a huge stone in his bladder when veterinarians operated on him to save his life. The doctor had to give the turtle anaesthetic before cutting a square hole in his shell to take out the stone and fixing the shell back with a special form of putty. After the surgery, Humphrey was moving much quicker without the stone weighing him down and is recovering.well.

Link to this web article online (English)

10. Bali island, Indonesia: Green turtle smuggling continues

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post; thejakartapost.com/bali-daily - DATE: 21st January 2013

According to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an estimated 100,000 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are killed in Indonesian and Australian waters every year. Green sea turtle consumption in Bali reached its peak in the late 1970s, when more than 30,000 green sea turtles were landed every year. In 2002, landings were estimated at 684 green sea turtles every year. The smuggling of the endangered green sea turtle into the island of Bali is mostly conducted to meet the continuing demand for turtle meat for human consumption. The Balinese consider turtle meat to be a delicacy despite the fact that green sea turtles are strictly protected under a decree that bans the trade and consumption of the species as their population is under threat from over-harvesting of both eggs and adults, as well as from accidental mortality in fishing nets. The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSD) stated that the smuggling of 80 green turtles into Bali had been foiled in 2012. Soemarsono, chairman of BKSD, shared with Bali Daily on Friday morning that: “The modes of turtle smuggling are similar with the use of water transportation and port entry, but the smugglers were clever enough to stop at different ports, especially smaller ones and traditional fishing ports, across Bali.”

Link to this web article online (English)

11. Colombo city, Sri Lanka: Tortoise flesh menu thwarted at Narahenpita restaurant

SOURCE: The Nation, nation.lk - DATE: 21st January 2013

Timely intervention of the police saved 14 tortoises (unknown species) and thwarted a scheduled meal of tortoise flesh at a restaurant in Narahenpita ward (Colombo city, Sri Lanka) yesterday on the 20 th January. Police raided the restaurant on a tip off that tortoise flesh was being prepared for menu at this restaurant on a regular basis during weekends. The owner of the restaurant, a Chinese national was arrested and produced in court. The court ordered to transfer the 14 tortoises to the Dehiwala National Zoological Gardens (Colombo city).

Link to this web article online (English)

12. Odisha state, India: 39 held for fishing near turtle nesting site

SOURCE: Daily News and Analysis; dnaindia.com - DATE: 25th January 2013


Odisha forest officials on Thursday arrested 39 men for fishing near a turtle nesting site in Odisha's Kendrapada district. The accused were caught near the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary where forest officials seized four mechanised trawlers that the accused used for fishing. Gahirmatha is one of the world's largest turtle nesting sites and where 700,000-800,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) breed and nest every year . To curb the killing of thousands of turtles annually, mostly by mechanised trawlers and fishing boats, the government has imposed a seven-month fishing ban along 120 km of the state's 480 km coastline.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

 
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