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No. 91, 2nd August 2013

1. China: Turtle smuggled through Chinese airport security in KFC burger

SOURCE: – DATE: 31th July, 2013

Airport security guards in southeast China have caught a man attempting to smuggle his pet turtle inside a KFC hamburger. The smuggler, named as Mr Lee, was stopped at Guangzhou's international airport on the morning of the 29th of July, 2013 after an airport X-ray machine detected unusual "protrusions" poking out from a sandwich inside his bag. Smelling a turtle, airport staff asked to take a closer look. Mr Lee, who was heading to Beijing, swore blind that his bag was reptile-free. But the turtle's sesame-sprinkled cover was already blown and Mr Lee was forced to admit to the existence of his travelling companion. He handed the turtle, which was not named, over to a friend and continued his journey alone. Smugglers of drugs and wildlife have adopted increasingly bizarre tactics in order to move their contraband around the globe.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© flickr; created by 'flaunted'

2. China: Alligator Snapper Turtle Goes through 10 Cigarettes a Day

SOURCE: – DATE: 23rd July, 2013

According to Chinese media reports, in a village on the outskirts of Changchun lives a nicotine-addicted alligator snapper turtle who smokes around 10 cigarettes a day. The turtles' owner Tang says it all started when he treated an injury on the turtle's plastron and had to distract the aggressive animal by putting a lit cigarette in its mouth. Apparently the turtle enjoyed the smoke so much that n ow, whenever it doesn't receive a cigarette, the turtle starts to make hissing sounds and follows Tang around wherever he goes, crawling up on him until it gets the nicotine it craves. It was fun in the beginning, but now he feels responsible for getting the turtle addicted to smoking. He says he welcomes any advice to help the turtle kick the habit.

ATP Note: Sadly, this story of a smoking turtle received a lot of media attention and many journalists fail to mention that this is clearly a case of animal abuse as the welfare of the turtle is being overlooked.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© flickr created by 'flaunted'

New Delhi, India: Scientists sees sea ports as a threat to rare turtles

SOURCE: – DATE: 31st July, 2013

The increasing numbers of turtles inadvertently caught by fishing trawlers and found dead on Odisha's beaches during the 1990s had led some scientists to suggest a sharp decline in the populations of Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) was imminent. But observations over the past decade indicate an increase in the number of sites for mass nesting on Odisha's coasts and fishing-related mortality has not increased. “Their population seems to be more stable today than what it seemed to be 10 years ago, the turtles are still dying but this appears for now to be not threatening the population,” said Kartik Shanker, a marine ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Conservation scientists estimate that between 100,000 and 200,000 Olive Ridley turtles come up for mass synchronized nesting at various sites along India's east coast each year. However, the loss of habitat through the construction of new ports or activities such as oil exploration continues to threaten the Olive Ridley turtles. Even bright lights on a beach can disorient hatchlings and make them stray away from water. Plantations of Causarina species along sections of the beach on Sriharikota island in Andhra Pradesh may also interfere with mass nesting. Such plantations may also provide shelter to mammalian predators of turtles. Along a 14km stretch of beach near Chennai earlier this year, several hundreds of dead turtles had been spotted. “The actual mortality must be much higher as it is estimated that only 10 per cent of the carcasses are washed up on the beaches”, said Akila Balu, a volunteer with the Students Sea Turtles Conservation Network.

Link to this web article online (English)


Kien Giang province, Vietnam: Hundreds of wild animals seized

DATE: 1st August, 2013

In the afternoon of the 1st of August 2013, the Forest Protection Department of Kien Giang province received about 90kg of wild animals, including rare species, from the police of Hon Dat district. The bus driver was hired to transport these animals from canal T6 (Binh Giang commune, Hon Dat district) to Rach Gia City. Also, in the afternoon of the 31 st of July, rangers seized 3 sea turtles weighing above 50 kg (unknown species) from a seafood restaurant at Rach Gia beach on Phu Quoc island. The turtles were transferred to Hon Me Wildlife Conservation Centre and will be released to Phu Quoc sea some time in the near future.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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