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No. 143, 8th August 2014

1. Cyprus: Turtle beach in danger, despite court ruling

SOURCE: – DATE: 2nd August 2014

Conservationists warned on Friday that a recent Supreme court decision that excluded an environmentally important area from a protected network did not affect its status as far as the European Union was concerned and that the cost for the lack of protection would ultimately be paid by taxpayers.

The Polis-Yialia area is the most important beach in Cyprus for the Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), which is where they lay their eggs. The application to the Supreme court was filed by Cyprus Limni Resorts and Golfcourses PLC, a member of the Shacolas Group, which plans to build two golf courses, a luxury hotel, villas and residential units in the area. The decision to exclude the area from the Natura 2000 network was based on technicalities and not on the scientific data, said the conservation group Terra Cypria, adding that it did not overturn its inclusion in the European Natura 2000 Network. The organisation warned that if measures were not taken immediately to restore the 475-metre zone, Cyprus risked being fined by the European Commission, a cost ultimately footed by taxpayers.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Cyprus mail

2. Cambodia: Police Raid Villa, Discover Wild Bear and Tortoise

SOURCE: – SOURCE: 4 th August 2014

Police on Friday raided a Phnom Penh villa rented by a Chinese national who was illegally keeping a 10-kg bear and a 17-kg tortoise confined in the house, police said Sunday. The raid was conducted in conjunction with the NGO WildAid, which had received a tip that there were wild animals in the house, according to Kul Sophat, the police chief of Boeng Keng Kang I commune, where the villa was located. The Chinese man renting the villa and his Cambodian employee were called for questioning by the municipal court, but were released after paying an unspecified fine, said deputy prosecutor Hor Lina. He declined to identify the two men, but said that the bear is currently being cared for by Free the Bears at the Phnom Tamao Rescue Center.

Link to this web article online (English)

© AP

3. US police detain giant tortoise after brief chase

SOURCE: - DATE: 4 th August 2014

Police in Alhambra in greater Los Angeles have recaptured a giant tortoise called Clark after a brief chase along the city's streets. It took two officers to manoeuvre the 150lb (70kg) reptile into a police car . Clark was taken to an animal rescue centre, from where he was later claimed by his owners. A local expert identified Clark as a Sulcata Tortoise, or African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata), native to the southern fringes of the Sahara desert.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Quang Binh province, Vietnam: Release a Leatherback sea Turtle

SOURCE: – DATE: 5 th August 2014

On the afternoon of the 5 th of August 2014, Quang Binh Sub-department for Aquatic Resources Exploitation and Protection announced that they released a Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) into the sea. The turtle weighted 80kg is in the critically endangered group, and is on the verge of extinction. On the afternoon of the 4 th of August 2014, the turtle was discovered by Truong Thanh, captain of the trawler No 1160-TS at the sea area 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) from Quang Binh province ' s shore. Later, the turtle was transferred to Quang Binh Sub-department for Aquatic Resources Exploitation and Protection to release in back to the sea.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© dan tri

© YouTube University of Live Science

© M. Krordorfer

5. Tortoises show off smarts by mastering touch-screen tech

SOURCE: – DATE: 5 th August 2014

Touch-screen technology has ventured into the world of reptiles. Red-footed tortoises (Chelonoidis carbonaria) have learned how to use the devise in exchange for a strawberry, a new study reports.

Researchers taught the tortoises a few touch-screen basics in order to learn about the animals' navigational techniques. The tortoises not only mastered the task in exchange for strawberries, but the animals also transferred their knowledge to a real-life setting.

The new findings will help researchers compare the perceptual and cognitive abilities of tortoises to other animals that can perform the same tasks, Vonk said. The experiment also reinforces other findings that tortoises are intelligent creatures. The study was published in the July issue of the journal Behavioral Processes .

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

6. The USA: Art museum's tortoises-with-iPads exhibit criticised

SOURCE: – DATE: 6 th August 2014

An artist's plan to attach iPads showing movies about ghost towns to the back of tortoises at the Aspen, Colo., art museum is drawing fire from animal-rights activists.

Cai Guo-Qiang's “ Moving Ghost Town ” display is set to launch Saturday to mark the opening of the new Aspen Art Museum. According to the museum, the artist attached cameras to three African Sulcata Tortoises ( Centrochelys sulcata ) named Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star and Whale Wanderer, and let them roam around nearby ghost towns. Animal-rights advocates are not amused. They've started an online petition, with more than 850 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, to force the museum to halt the installation as it moves into the new museum building in the heart of this tinny ski town beloved by investment bankers, rockers and models.

African Sulcata Tortoises are among the world's largest tortoises, often weighing well more than 100 pounds (45kg) when fully grown. The tortoises in the museum exhibit each weigh about 70 pounds (32kg). Depending on the model, a full-size iPad weighs about 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg).

Link to this web article online (English)

© B. Farrell

7. Malaysia: Alarm over unabated turtle carnage

SOURCE: – DATE: 6 th August 2014

A University of Malaysia Sabah researcher-lecturer has expressed his concern about the rapid decline in turtle population in Sabah. According to Dr James Alin, nesting records collected by the Kudat Turtle Conservation Society (KTCS) and sightings by artisanal fishermen and recreational divers ' show that Green (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles in these areas are rapidly declining. “What we are now observing is a consequence from decades of human predation. Slaughtering of turtles and poaching on eggs has taken its toll on the sea turtles population.” He said

Sea turtles are hit by boat engine propellers, he said, adding that the community patrolling teams under KTCS can only protect turtles while they are nesting and laying eggs but not before or after the landing. In fact, nine out of ten dead turtles washed ashore from September 2009 until August this year had signs of physical injuries.

Link to this web article online (English)


8. Then and Now Photos of a 182-Year-Old Tortoise

SOURCE: – DATE: 6 th August 2014

Jonathan the tortoise seems to know   a thing or two about ageing gracefully. I say this because he's 182 years old. On the island of St. Helena, Jonathan, a rare Seychelles Giant (Aldabrachelys hololissa), pals around with four other giant tortoises. He's in good company, rooming with none other than the governor of St. Helena.

Giant tortoises can live to be 250, so Jonathan' s caretakers are helping him make the most of his remaining years. Visitors are advised not to make much noise or let their kids loose around him, and plans   to put in a new fence to keep Jonathan safe in his old age are underway. ATP NOTE: the oldest documented turtle has lived to 175 years old.

Link to this web article online (English)


© Ryot

© Ryot

9. The USA: Bucks man fined for shooting turtle; He was caught after posting photo of dead animal on Snapchat

SOURCE: – DATE: 7 th August

An 18-year-old Warwick man pleaded guilty Thursday to shooting an Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) and sharing pictures of the dead animal with friends through a cell phone app. The photos then circulated through other social media. Jake Heilig will have to pay more than $950 in fines, and spend eight hours of community service at the SPCA, as ordered by District Judge Jean Seaman. Heilig pleaded guilty to a summary cruelty to animals charge filed by the Bucks County SPCA, and three summary violations filed by the Fish and Boat Commission, including one charge of taking a protected species

Link to this web article online (English)

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