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No. 107, 22nd November 2013

1. Lim Chu Kang, Singapore: New sanctuary for rescued wildlife opens in Lim Chu Kang

DATE: 14th November, 2013

On the 14th of November 2013 the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) unveiled a new sanctuary area built by more than 100 volunteers at its Wildlife Rescue Centre in the industrial estate Jalan Lekar.
The 300m² area was officially opened by Desmond Lee, the Minister of State for National Development, who also helped Acres volunteers release some 46 animals into the sanctuary at the event. These animals, including Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and Giant Asian pond turtles (Heosemys grandis), were let in their new enclosures after being treated for injuries sustained due to abandonment or harsh conditions in the illegal wildlife trade.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Desmond Foo

© Desmond Foo

2. Evolutionary egg question answered: Turtle goo reduces oxygen

DATE: 6th February, 2013  

Some reptile species give birth to live young, but turtles have never evolved this ability. New research is revealing why. PhD student Dr Anthony Rafferty, Associate Professor Richard Reina and Associate Professor Roger Evans from Monash University in collaboration with Dr Franciscus Scheelings at Healesville Sanctuary studied four different turtle species and discovered the egg-carrying female had the unique biological ability to wait to lay her eggs on land when conditions were right, giving her young the best chance of survival. The study found the egg-carrying females had low oxygen levels in their reproductive tracts, or oviducts. These conditions halted embryonic growth at a certain stage, whereas the ova kept at optimal conditions continued to develop normally. Dr Rafferty said it was likely the low oxygen environment was actively created by the female and could explain how turtles were able to store eggs by halting development until they could lay them safely on land. "It appears the female actively produces a mucus -like substance inside the reproductive tracts where the eggs are stored, to lower oxygen levels and cause the eggs to stop developing, which allows the turtle to select when and where to lay the eggs on land, taking into account access to adequate food sources and a secure environment.” Dr Rafferty said this insight into evolutionary biology had implications for conservation, particularly the preservation of the endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) because more than half of the eggs laid in each nest never hatch.

Link to this web article online (English)


3. Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam: 94 sea turtle carcasses stolen from landfill site

Follow-up Bulletin No. 106

DATE: 15th November, 2013

In the afternoon of the 12th of November 2013, 94 frozen hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) were destroyed on the landfill site of Tinh Thien commune, Son Tinh district. These animals were purchased from offshore fishing vessels by driver Vo Van Quang residing in Binh Chau commune, Quang Ngai province and were confiscated on the 25th of October. However, right after the authorities left the landfill site, some individuals driving a refrigerated truck returned to the site and excavated the destroyed turtle carcasses. According to some workers at the landfill site, these people might reside in Binh Chau commune, Binh Son district. The stolen turtles are believed to have some economic value as their parts can be used.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



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