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No. 103, 25th October 2013

1. Vietnam: 13 Vietnamese arrested in Philippines over sea turtles

DATE: 21st October, 2013

Thirteen Vietnamese fishermen were arrested after being found in Philippine waters with a haul of protected sea turtles, police said Monday, the 21st October 2013. The fishermen were caught on the 18th of October off the western Philippine island of Palawan, in waters near the South China Sea where authorities say foreign poaching of endangered or protected species has become a major problem. "Upon initial inspection, it was found out that the said foreign fishing vessel is loaded with undetermined (number of) pieces of dead sea turtles ," said Benigno Caabay, a station officer at the Palawan police provincial headquarters, quoting an official report. The 13 are being held at a police camp in Palawan while officers look into filing a case against them.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


2. Hibernating Turtles Aren't Dead to the World

DATE: 8th October, 2013

Like many freshwater turtles, the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta can spend the whole winter resting at the bottom of a cold lake with no oxygen. Are they totally comatose, or do they keep a bit of a light on in their brains? To find out, researchers inserted electrodes into anesthetized turtles' heads. The reptiles' neurons responded to light and vibration—even when the turtles were deprived of oxygen , the group reports online today in Biology Letters . The team also placed non-anesthetized turtles in cold, oxygen-free water in a dark lab for 2 weeks, to make them think it was winter. When the researchers turned on the lights, the turtles started moving around in their tanks. Warming the water had the same effect. (Oxygen and vibration did not.) The team concludes that the turtles aren't actually comatose in winter; they're waiting for signs of spring in a state of "slow vigilance."

Link to this web article online (English)

© Jesper Rais

3. Singapore: Two men arrested for suspected tortoise theft

DATE: 23rd October, 2013

On the 15th of October, a 59-year-old victim reported to the police that an Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) valued at about $2,000 was stolen three days ago. Officers from Clementi Police Division reviewed CCTV footage and managed to establish the identity of the 42-year-old suspect, Ng Pang Heng, who was arrested at his residence in the vicinity of Jurong West Street 64 on Tuesday at about 10.15am. Later on the same day at about 7pm, officers arrested the 25-year-old accomplice, Ang Rui Long, at his residence on Mei Ling Street. Both suspects will be charged in court on the 24th of October for stealing. If convicted, they can be jailed up to three years and fined. They are also liable for an offence of cruelty to animals, which carries a fine up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to 12 months. Both men are out on police bail and will be back in court on 7 th of November.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)


4. Vietnam: Weeds, animal pests invade Dong Nai Nature Reserve

DATE: 21st October, 2013

Invasive species are encroaching upon the Dong Nai Culture-Nature Reserve, threatening the biodiversity of the site. According to recent research conducted by the Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA) under the Viet Nam Environment Administration, five species of flora, five fish, reptile and amphibian species (including red ear slider – Trachemys scripta elegans) and one invertebrate species. The BCA said impacts from these species on native species are severe, requiring immediate control measures to prevent any negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, climate change is also threatening species and possibly creates opportunities for invasive species to make their move.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)


© baodongnai

5. Kolkata, India: Rare turtles to be released in Sunderbans

SOURCE: – DATE: 19th October, 2013

Inspired by the success in hatching the critically endangered Northern River Terrapin or Sunderbans Batagur (Batagur baska), officials of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) are now planning to release the reptiles in the wild. "We successfully hatched 38 Batagurs at Sajnekhali in 2012. This year, we hatched 56 Batagurs. This is an ongoing project. Presently, we have nine adults at Sajnekhali. Last year's hatchlings are growing quite fast and we are now planning to start releasing them in the wild. Their habitat is in the Sunderbans but we will have to locate the right spot," said Soumitra Dasgupta, field director of STR. Forest department officials will start a survey in the Sunderbans from January to locate the spot where the turtles are to be released. According to Dasgupta, the survey may take some time after which a decision on how many of the turtles are to be released in the wild will be taken. "This is a critically endangered animal and we will have to be very careful," he added. Conservationists from the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) are also involved in efforts to protect the Batagurs and have provided assistance to the forest department officials. According to the TSA, the Batagurs underwent a sharp decline over the last two decades due to human consumption (both of turtles and eggs).

Link to this web article online (English)

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