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No. 202, 2nd October 2015

1. Hanoi, Vietnam: Major confiscation of priority turtle species in Vietnam - Soc Son rescue centre receives confiscated turtles in the news
SOURCE: – DATE: 28th September 2015

On the 29th of September 2015, Nam Tu Liem district police in Hanoi, Vietnam, prosecuted Ms Mai Thi Van (31, living in Hanoi) and Ms Le Thi Quynh (32, living in Ha Tinh province) for violating laws on endangered wildlife.

At about 19:30 hrs on the 20th of September 2015 a Hyundai Getz car was seen behaving suspiciously at My Dinh bus station in Hanoi, on inspection by the police two female passengers’ were found to have suitcases containing 69 Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) which are listed in Appendix I as well as many other turtle species protected in IIB group and as such protected. Van confessed that she had purchased these turtles from Le Thi Quynh and that Quynh would transfer the second shipment soon. On the 21st of September, the police intercepted the second shipment comprising of one King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), 9 Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) and a number of group IIB listed species.

According to the report these confiscated animals were reportedly planned to be shipped to Quang Ninh province on the border with China and then shipped across the border into the Chinese food market.

ATP NOTE: Soc Son Rescue Centre received 237 animals on the 21st of September 2015.  On the 30th of September 2015, 201 turtles including 20 Indochinese Box Turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), 10 Bourret’s Box Turtles (Cuora bourreti), 4 Malayan Box Turtles (Cuora amboinensis), 30 Keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii) and 23 Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), 10 Southern Asian Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii), 2 Chinese Pond Turtles (Mauremys reevsesii), 1 Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentine) and 1 Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) were transferred to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park,  Ninh Binh province.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 3 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

major turtle confiscation in Hanoi

© An ninh Thu do

major turtle confiscation in Hanoi

© An ninh Thu do

turtle eggs hunting in Con Dao

© infonet.vnturtle in Con Dao


2. Vietnam: Hunting and slaughtering sea turtles at Con Dao Island
SOURCE: - DATE: 25th September 2015

Despite being protected under Vietnam’s laws, sea turtles in Con Dao Island off the south coast of Vietnam are facing severe threats because of the illegal hunting and trade to meet the demand for meat and products made from turtle carapace.

According to the article it has been found that some people are going to Con Dao Island where sea turtles nest to collect sea turtle eggs and hunt the mother sea turtles. Some turtles are being slaughtered with their meat being sold to restaurants in Con Dao or on the mainland. The turtles whose average weight ranges from 50kg to 200 kg are apparently a favourite choice for many restaurant goers.

ATP NOTE: two common species are often seen in Con Dao Island are Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

UNDOC send darft report to the gov


3. UNODC report findings to support Vietnam in tackling wildlife and forest crime
SOURCE: - DATE: 25th September 2015

On Friday (the 25th of September 2015) the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented to the Government of Vietnam the findings of a draft report on wildlife and forest crime in the country.

The report is the result of analysis conducted using the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit, which was developed in consultation with the partners of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, World Bank, and World Customs Organization. It was a Government-led process, carried out with the participation of relevant stakeholder agencies across the country.

The findings and recommendations of the report reflect both the strengths and weaknesses of Vietnam’s capacity to tackle wildlife and forest crime (WLFC).  It highlights the need for timely and reliable information and actionable intelligence sharing in Vietnam, coupled with the necessary technical skills and advanced capabilities to identify, target and arrest criminals. 

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Exclusive Video: First "Glowing" Sea Turtle Found
SOURCE: – DATE: 28th September 2015

Scientists diving recently near the Solomon Islands – a sovereign country consisting of a large number of islands in Oceania - made an illuminating discovery: The first biofluorescent reptile ever recorded.

The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is the first reptile scientists have seen exhibiting biofluorescence - the ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different colour. The most common colours are green, red, and orange.

This finding has opened up a whole universe of questions for scientists to explore. They include whether these turtles can see the biofluorescence, where they get the ability - do they take in compounds from their food that let them fluoresce, or do they make their own compounds - how they're using it, and whether other sea turtle species possess a similar ability.

Link to this web article online (English)

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

glowing sea turtle

© National Geographic

5. Wildlife smugglers eye emerging airports
SOURCE: - DATE: 29th September 2015

On Sunday evening, officials at the Madurai International Airport (Tamil Nadu, India) seized a rather unusual consignment - that of 247 Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans), and arrested one person for attempting to smuggle them out of the country. Usually, the seizures at this airport are in the form of either drugs or gold, but this is the first time that tortoises were seized. The seizure of live tortoises has indicated that wildlife smugglers are looking at emerging airports where international routes are coming up. TRAFFIC - a network monitoring wildlife trade also seconded the opinion of lesser-known airports used as transit points by wildlife smugglers.

Abul Alim, a conduit confessed that he secured them from some people in Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India) and was taking them to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia through Colombo.

Link to this web article online (English)


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