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No. 205, 23rd October 2015

1. The Philippines: Hundreds of rare turtles recovered in Palawan
SOURCE: - DATE: 20th October 2015

On Sunday evening on the 18th of October the Palawan authorities in the Philippines confiscated hundreds of rare turtles, again believed to be sold on the Chinese black market.

Approximately 979 turtles were rescued from three individuals in Barangay Old Guinlo, Taytay, a town in northern Palawan. The shipment included Southeast Asian Box Turtles (Cuora amboinensis), Asian Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys sp.), and the Philippine Pond Turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis), listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as "vulnerable," "lower risk or near threatened," and "critically endangered", respectively.

The Philippine pond turtle is endemic to the country and native to northern part of Palawan. It faces very high risk of extinction.

This follows the confiscation of around 4,000 turtles in mid July 2015, most of which were the critically endangered Philippine Pond Turtle.

Link to this web article online (English)

wildlife seized in Palawan

© K. A. Fabro


Bellinger snapping turtle

© The Coffs Coast Advocate

2. Australia: Answers on turtle plague
SOURCE: – DATE: 20th October 2015

The Department of Primary Industries has published a report into the death of hundreds of Bellinger River Snapping Turtles (Elseya georgesi) following a series of investigations earlier this year. An estimated 432 turtles were observed to be dying or dead since February in the Bellinger River area (New South Wales, Australia), plagued by an infectious disease which caused blindness which prevented the turtles for hunting. The turtle disease event may be symptomatic of environmental changes with a series of floods late last year and earlier this year.

Link to this web article online (English)

rare species recovered in Kandal

© The Phnom Penh Post


3. Cambodia: Rare reptiles recovered in Kandal
SOURCE: – DATE: 21st October 2015

Customs authorities in Cambodia’s Kandal province confiscated dozens of snakes and tortoises during a bust at the Vietnamese border on Monday (19th of October 2015), though the wildlife smuggler managed to escape while the search was being undertaken. The seizure included 27 Elongated Tortoises (Indotestudo elongata), 13 Reticulated Pythons (Python reticulatus) and nine Rat Snakes. The animals were handed over to NGO Wildife Alliance, which collaborates closely with national and provincial authorities on combating wildlife crime and which will release the animals into their natural habitat once any necessary treatment has been administered.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. The USA: Extinct Species of Pig-Snouted Turtle Unearthed in Utah
SOURCE: – DATE: 21st October 2015

Researchers have discovered a species of extinct pig-nose turtle that lived alongside dinosaurs and fills a gap in understanding the evolution of turtles. It was found in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by a team from the Natural History Museum of Utah (the USA).

The pig-nosed turtle’s scientific name, Arvinachelys goldeni, derives from arvina, a Latin word for pig fat or bacon­, and chelys, Latin for tortoise. Goldeni pays tribute to Jerry Golden, a volunteer at the Natural History Museum of Utah who prepared the new holotype specimen.

Joshua Lively, who describes the species in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, stated it was one of the most bizarre turtles that ever lived and that the discovery added to a growing story about ecosystem dynamics during the Late Cretaceous across western North America.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Arvinachelys goldeni

© V. Lenshyk

new species of giant tortoise in Santa Cruz

© Washington Tapia

5. Ecuador: Galapagos gets a new species of giant tortoise
SOURCE: – DATE: 21st October 2015

A genetic study of giant tortoises on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz reveals two different species and causes some head scratching amongst taxonomists.

For more than a century, taxonomists have lumped together all the giant tortoises on the central island of Santa Cruz. In a 2005 study, geneticists revealed that the island might be home to more than a single species. After a decade-long investigation, this division is now official, formalized in a paper published in PLoS ONE. Where there was just one species in the past - the Santa Cruz tortoise (Chelonoidis porteri), we can now recognise two (the Western Santa Cruz tortoise (Chelonoidis porteri) and the Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise (Chelonoidis donfaustoi)).

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Link 3 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

6. Vietnam: 35kg Green sea turtle found in Tam Giang Lagoon
SOURCE: – DATE: 22nd October 2015

On the 22nd of October 2015, Department of Fisheries Resources Protection of Thua Thien - Hue province in coloration with local authorities and fishermen released a 35kg Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) back to the sea. Earlier in the morning, a local resident named Phan Ngoc (living at Hoa Vang district, Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam) discovered a sea turtle trapped in his shrimp pond and immediately notified the case to local authorities.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Green sea turtle found in Tam Giang Lagoon


7. Vietnam: Rare wildlife found in local resident’s house
SOURCE: – DATE: 22nd October 2015

On the 20th of October 2015, when checking Mr Bui Minh Trung’s house at Sa Thay district, Kon Tum province, Vietnam, the Environmental Police detected 3 Orange-headed Temple Turtles (Heosemys grandis) weighing 2.8 kg and a Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica) weighing 1kg. Mr Trung confessed that he had purchased these animals one day earlier for re-trading in Kon Tum to make a profit.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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