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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 65, 2nd February 2013


1.
Vietnam: Becoming rich in a blink of an eye by trading rare turtles

SOURCE: Người đưa tin - nguoiduatin.vn
DATE: 28th January 2013

Since the late 1980's, Chinese three-stripped box turtles (Cuora trifasciata) have been exploited for traditional medicine in China. Believing that this turtle species cures cancer, over the years, the price per kg has risen to 300 million VND ($14,403)making Cuora trifasciata the most sought after species which poses an additional threat to wild populations. Rumour has it that eating a Chinese three-stripped box turtle's meat while using prescription drugs for cancer can cure the disease in a short time, its legs soaked in alcohol is used as a drug to treat erectile dysfunction or powder made of its dry meat could speed up a child's development and growth. For this reason, the species is not only sold to China anymore but it is becoming more and more popular to find Cuora trifasciata on menus of Vietnamese restaurants. ATP's note: Even though the article listed several questionable health benefits that one might attain by eating Chinese three-stripped box turtles, it only mentioned laws to protect the species in passing. The species is fully protected as a categories IB species under national law Decree 32/2006/ND/CP


Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


2. Hong Kong, China: Endangered green turtle caught in Tai Po returned to sea

SOURCE: South China Morning Post; scmp.com - DATE: 29th January 2013

An endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas) was returned to sea yesterday after being caught accidentally by a fisherman last month. The adult female, in her 30's, was caught in Tai Po waters (Tai Po town) on the 14 th of December. The fisherman called the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, which collected it within the day. The turtle was taken to Ocean Park where a veterinary assessment showed it was in good health. The park had taken care of her since then, she has been fitted with a microchip and tags for future identification. A satellite transmitter was also attached to the turtle's back before it was released in Sai Kung waters. Meanwhile, the department said it had recorded a green turtle which laid five clutches of eggs - numbering more than 550 in total - at Sham Wan beach (Ap Lei Chau district) last summer. After laying the last clutch of eggs in October, it left Hong Kong waters, heading towards its feeding ground in Vietnam. However, the department said there was no sign of hatchlings during the incubation period. One possibility was that the eggs were unfertilised, it said, adding that the same turtle had nested in Hong Kong in 2003 and 2008 before returning to Vietnam coastal waters.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

3. Costa Rica: National University experts to present analysis on turtle deaths

SOURCE: Tico Times - ticotimes.net
DATE: 29th January 2013

Follow-up news from Bulletin 64

Veterinarians and pathologists from the National University on Thursday will present the results of a study on the death of 280 turtles found in the South Pacific of Costa Rica on the 21 st of January. Experts analysed 30 tissue samples extracted from some of the bodies found. After sectioning the tissues, pathologists performed a procedure that allows them to examine cells and determine the cause of death. A preliminary report issued days ago found evidence of drowning, which could indicate illegal fishing was to blame. Another study performed by Costa Rica's Fisheries Institute on 16 turtles determined that “there is insufficient evidence to attribute the mass death to fishing activities.”



Link to this web article online (English)



 

4. Hanoi city, Vietnam: Proposal to declare the Hoan Kiem lake turtle a national heritage animal

SOURCE: Thanh Niên Online, thanhnien.com.vn
DATE: 1st February 2013

Professor Ha Dinh Duc has urged the local government in Hanoi to produce a proposal to the national government recommending that the Hoan Kiem lake turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) and two other specimens in Ngoc Son temple and Hanoi museum are declared as national heritage animals. Professor Ha Dinh Duc strongly believes that this turtle species is of equal importance than other animals/species that already have been recognized as national animals (like the tiger, the water buffalo or dragon).

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)
5. Bali island, Indonesia: Vast coastal erosion in Jembrana threatens turtle habitats

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post, thejakartapost.com - DATE: 1st February 2013

Severe erosion along beaches in Jembrana regency (Bali, Indonesia) poses a serious threat to a turtle breeding centre on its coast. According to government data, at least eight kilometres of the 60-kilometer coastline in Jembrana had been affected by erosion. Employees from the local turtle conservation program urged authorities to rehabilitate the beach that is used as a nesting site for sea turtles. “There are currently 249 turtle nests in Jembrana threatened by increasing erosion, but nothing has been done by the authorities,” said Wayan Anom Pastika Jaya of the turtle conservation program. The nests are predominantly on Perancak Beach. According to Anom, waves and winds generated by storms during the rainy season have eroded large stretches of the beach, have caused the erosion.. People from Perancak village have developed a successful head-start program for hatchlings. They not only guard the nests of the turtles but also take care for hatchlings until they are large enough to be released in the sea. Eggs are relocated four to six hours after they are laid to improve the hatching success. The local turtle conservation program depends on local people to participate in the conservation of the sea turtles by adopting turtle nests or assist in the monitoring of female turtles coming ashore to lay eggs.



Link to this web article online (English)



6.
Padang city, Indonesia: Padang combats illegal turtle egg trade

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post - thejakartapost.com - DATE: 1st February 2013

The city administration of Padang, West Sumatra, is striving to fight against the popular trade of endangered sea turtle eggs by cooperating with the police and the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA). The head of Padang Maritime Resources and Fishery Office, Zalbadri, said on Friday that the problem needs to be addressed because the number of turtle eggs traded in the city was thought to have reached 20,000 last year. The turtle egg trade, which violates Law No. 5/1990 on natural resources conservation and Government Regulation No. 7/1999 on the preservation of flora and fauna and Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), is the major source of the local people's livelihood. Therefore it will be difficult to tackle the illegal turtle egg trade in the city.

Link to this web article online (English)
 
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