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No. 154, 24th October 2014

1. Cambodia: Journalist Investigating Illegal Logging Shot Dead

SOURCE: – DATE: 13th October 2014

A 49-year-old journalist reportedly investigating illegal logging in Kratie province, Cambodia was shot dead early Sunday morning. Within hours, police arrested three men—a commune police chief, a military police officer and a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldier—for the murder, officials said.  Taing Try, who contributed to several local newspapers, was shot in the forehead at about 1 a.m. in Snuol district’s Khsoem commune (Kratié Province, Cambodia) after he and five other journalists went to investigate reports of illegal logging, according to Sok Sovann, president of the Khmer Journalist for Democracy Association, of which the slain reporter was a member.

Rights groups and media watchdogs were quick to condemn Taing Try’s murder Sunday, which follows the 2012 slaying of Virakchun Khmer newspaper reporter Hang Serei Oudom in Rattanakiri province, Cambodia who was also investigating timber smuggling, and environmental activist Chut Wutty, who was shot dead the same year in Koh Kong province, Cambodia.

This very sad news is a reminder of the high risk associated with nature conservation in many areas of the world and the big price that some individuals have to pay for the money generated through illegal logging an hunting. 

Link to this web article online (English)


2. China Is Pushing the Rare Pig-Nosed Turtle to Extinction

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th October 2014

With estimates of the trade to China of Pig-Nosed Turtles as high as two million (2,000,000) individuals a year this attractive species from northern Australia and New Guinea is under threat. The main destination is for Chinese food and traditional medicine markets with confiscations also made in Indonesia and Hong Kong in 2014. 

Link to this web article online (English)

Pig-Nosed Turtle
J. Muller

3. India: WWF cracks code words for illegal online wildlife trade

SOURCE: – DATE: 16th October 2014

The World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-I) has cracked the secret codes used for illegal online trade of animals, reptiles and mammals. The traders used ‘four wheeler’ for Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) and striped T-shirt for tiger skin. The breakthrough was made by TRAFFIC, the wildlife crime control wing of the organisation.
Talking to The Hindu, the head of TRAFFIC Shekhar Kumar Niraj said illegal online wildlife trade started thriving in the country in the last four years, coinciding with the popularity of various social media, particularly among the youth. Though it is possible to take action if such transactions occur within the borders of the country, it is virtually impossible to trace the offenders who are not from the country.

Link to this web article online (English)

us illegal wildlife trade
B. Butcher

4. The USA: Overwhelmed U.S. port inspectors unable to keep up with illegal wildlife trade

SOURCE: – DATE: 17th October 2014

While the international response to poaching is focused on Africa and the demand for contraband in China and Vietnam, middlemen have been running extremely lucrative operations within U.S. borders. They bring cargo in through poorly policed ports and take advantage of legal loopholes that exempt antiques and some hunting trophies from the ban on trading elephant ivory and rhino horn. When agents do manage to snare a wildlife smuggler, the courts are often lenient.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. Five strangest turtle seizures around the globe

SOURCE: – DATE: 18th October 2014

Border officials around the world have witnessed some bizarre attempts to smuggle turtles across state lines as black-market dealers seek to sell the shelled reptiles as prized pets and food. Reporter Reid Southwick looks at five of the latest, and strangest, turtle seizures in Calgary (Alberta, Canada) and around the globe.
Calgary seizure
The latest bust in the underground turtle trade came in Calgary, where Canadian border officials seized 11 babies at a shipping warehouse. During routine checks in early August, officials came across an envelope with a label declaring it contained books. After taking a closer look, the officials discovered the package was stuffed with 11 baby turtles.
Turtle burger
In 2013, a traveller raised eyebrows at a Chinese international airport when he tried to smuggle a pet turtle through security by disguising it as a burger.
Bulging sweatpants
An Ontario man is accused of concealing 51 live turtles in his sweatpants before attempting to re-enter Canada from the United States in August.
Boat bust
An Ontario man was forced to pay a big fine after Canadian and U.S. officials seized 205 animals, including dozens of turtles, from a boat found near a small community on the St. Lawrence River.
Turtle soup, jelly
Border officials in Hong Kong seized more than 10,000 endangered turtles and tortoises that were believed to be heading to Chinese dinner plates in 2003.

Link to this web article online (English)

6. Canada: Ontario SPCA seeks 4 teens who hurt large turtle in Cornwall

SOURCE: – DATE: 18th October 2014

The Ontario SPCA is searching for four teenagers believed to have hurled a large turtle into a drained swimming pool in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. On the 10th of October, witnesses saw the four boys, between 16 and 18 years old, take a large turtle weighing 20-lb (9.1kg) from the box and toss it over the chain-link fence of a public swimming pool. The SPCA said the turtle landed on the concrete surrounding the pool, and then one of the boys climbed the fence and threw the turtle into the drained concrete pool.
The top part of the turtle’s shell was cracked from the head to tail and the underside of the shell was also cracked, according to the SPCA. The turtle was moved to a wildlife rehabilitation centre where it is receiving veterinary care.

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle with crack on the shell© Ontario SPCA

7. Vietnam: Seizure of a car transporting wildlife

SOURCE: – DATE: 21st October 2014

Police Department of Hung Yen Province, Vietnam seized a car (registered number 16M – 9197) transporting 60kg of animals categorised in IIB list, including 21 pangolins and 6 Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum). The animals were not in good condition. All of the animals were handed over to Soc Son Rescue Centre in Ha Noi. 

8. New publication on using microsatellite markers to analyse genetic variability and divergence among five Asian box turtles species genus Cuora, focusing on Cuora trifasciata species complex. Cuora cyclornata now recognised as a full species distributed primarily in Vietnam.

The paper focus a great deal on Cuora trifasciata species complex and results now recognise Cuora cyclornata as a full species distributed primarily in Vietnam.

Tiedemann, R., Schneider, A.R.R., Havenstein, K., Blanck, T., Meier, E., Raffel, M., Zwartepoorte, H. & Plath, M. (2014): New microsatellite markers allow high-resolution taxon delimitation in critically endangered Asian box turtles, genus Cuora. Salamandra, 50 (3): 139-146 + Supplementary material

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