Asian Turtle Program
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No. 206, 30th October 2015

1. Vietnam: Seizure of highly threatened turtles highlights ongoing threat of illegal trade
SOURCE: – DATE: 26th October 2015

More than 200 freshwater turtles are currently being cared for at Soc Son Rescue Centre and the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park following one of Viet Nam’s biggest ever turtle seizures.

The animals, including around 100 Indochinese Box Turtles Cuora galbinifrons and Bourret’s Box Turtles Cuora bourreti, more than 50 Keeled Box Turtles Cuora mouhotii and over 30 Big-headed Turtles Platysternon megacephalum and a small number of leaf turtles Cyclemys spp. were confiscated by Nam Tu Liem district police in Hanoi last month.

Some of the animals were transferred to the TCC, where quarantine facilities and trained staff are equipped to handle large numbers of these sensitive species. The animals are currently being rehabilitated and some will possibly be released back into the wild at a future date.

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) and TCC are currently seeking emergency support including additional ATP staff and volunteers to maintain the intensive treatments needed over the next few months. Donations are also urgently sought to construct long-term, secure enclosures for the animals once they move out of quarantine.

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle treatment in TCC



2. The Philippines: Smuggling endangers rare Philippine turtle species
SOURCE: – DATE: 26th October 2015

Chinese demand for forest turtles, also known as the Palawan forest turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis) - which is listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - is threatening an endangered species found only on one Philippine island, wildlife officials said.

About 20 of these rare animals were seized on the 18th of October 2015 among a haul of almost a thousand other turtles of two other species of Southeast Asian Box Turtles (Cuora amboinensis) and Asian Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys sp.) collected by illegal wildlife traders in Palawan, said Adelina Villena, chief of staff at the Palawan Council for Sustainable Develop­ment. The poaching of such turtles has seen an increase with nearly 4,000 turtles being seized in Palawan in June. The crime of catching such animals is punishable by six to 12 years in jail and is bailable, Villena added.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

3. The USA: Georgia man gets 21 months for stealing sea turtle eggs
SOURCE: - DATE: 28th October 2015

A coastal Georgia man caught stealing 84 sea turtle eggs while he was on probation for an earlier conviction of the same crime was sentenced Wednesday (the 28th of October 2015) to return to federal prison - for roughly one week for each egg he took.

Lewis Jackson, 61, offered no explanation for why he returned over the summer to remote Sapelo Island (Georgia, the USA) to swipe eggs from the nests of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) - a threatened species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Previously, in April 2013, Jackson was sentenced to six months in prison for committing the same offense on the beaches of the same island. This time, the U.S. District Court judge ordered Jackson imprisoned for 21 months.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. India: Woman arrested in ISBT carrying 123 rare turtles
SOURCE: – DATE: 29th October 2015

On Tuesday, the 27th of October 2015, a woman carrying turtles belonging to an endangered species was arrested when she arrived in the capital to sell them off to a contact in east Delhi's Anand Vihar area. Police said 123 turtles were recovered from her possession. The turtles were identified as Indian softshell turtles (Nilssonia gangetica), which are on Schedule I of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act. The turtles are now with Wildlife SOS, they will be released in the wild as soon as they are found fit for release and other formalities by forest department and the court.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. South Africa: Geometric Tortoise Conservation: Endangered Rare Animal Get New Home [PHOTOS]
SOURCE: - DATE: 29th October 2015

Three conservation organizations are pulling together to create a safer home for one of the world's rarest reptiles: the geometric tortoise (Psammobates geometricus). The Rainforest Trust along with the Turtle Conservancy and South African Turtle Conservation Trust (SATCT) recently created a new reserve known as the Geometric Tortoise Preserve. This protected area spans 212 acres of threatened shrubland habitat located in the Upper Breede Valley of western South Africa and is expected to provide a safe haven for the last and largest viable population of geometric tortoise in the world, according to a news release.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Geometric tortoise

© the Turtle Conservancy

Geometric tortoise

© the Turtle Conservancy

6. Malaysia: Illegal trade in endangered wildlife thrives on the Internet
SOURCE: – DATE: 29th October 2015

The illegal wildlife trade of the Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) by pet shops may have decreased likely due to increased enforcement efforts in Malaysia - but the Internet is now helping to accelerate the extinction process.

According to an article by wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic Southeast Asia programme officer (Pets and Fashion) Serene C.L. Chng and consultant Jamie Bouhuys, at least 464 Indian Star Tortoises were observed in 64 out of a total of 94 shops visited during the first survey carried out between 2004 and 2006. Nevertheless, in the second survey carried out in 2014, of the 85 shops surveyed, only three Indian Star Tortoises were recorded in two shops. This works out at only 2% of the shops carrying Indian Star Tortoises - a dramatic decrease from a decade earlier.

However, at least 1,023 Indian Star Tortoise were offered for sale in 185 separate advertisements dating from September 2006 to February 2015, which averages out at 1.8 advertisements a month.

Link to this web article online (English)

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