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No. 248, 19th August 2016

1. Madagascar: The top-secret tortoise sanctuary of Madagascar
SOURCE: – DATE: 16th August 2016

Madagascar's conservationists are working in secrecy to protect one of the world's most beautiful tortoises - the Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) - from poachers, writes journalist Martin Vogl.

The villa, on the outskirts of Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, is the headquarter of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and just next to the main building in small pens made from wood are more than 500 radiated tortoises. These tortoises were going to be smuggled out of Madagascar when they were seized by officials and handed over to the TSA who aim to protect the beautiful species that is sought after by collectors around the world, in part because of their stunning shells.

Link to this web article online (English)

Radiated Tortoise


Radiated Tortoise

© K. K. Karlapu

2. China sentences 7 in international tortoise smuggling ring
SOURCE: – DATE: 17th August 2016

China sentenced seven members of an international tortoise smuggling ring to prison after they tried to transport more than 300 critically endangered Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) on a plane from Madagascar into China to be bred for the international pet trade.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported the sentences included an 11-year prison term for the leader of the ring and a 5-year sentence for an airport employee who aided the group.  The ring was discovered when the airport employee was caught carrying two knapsacks filled with 316 tortoises on the 3rd of February 2015.

ATP NOTE: it is great to see strong sentences being handed out for these clear wildlife crime violations, this will hopefully help deter future smugglers.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

Radiated Tortoise


loggerhead sea turtle

© Anton Dohrn Zoological Station

3. Italy: Biologists remove endangered turtle's dead conjoined twin
SOURCE: – DATE: 18th August 2016

Marine biologists in southern Italy have separated conjoined twin Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta) and released the surviving new-born into the Mediterranean Sea.

The release occurred this week along the beaches of Campania, where the endangered loggerheads come to nest every year.

Fulvio Maffucci, marine biologist at Anton Dohrn Zoological Station, said Wednesday there had been only seven known births of conjoined twin loggerheads in the Mediterranean. He said the fact that one survived was "extraordinary." The smaller twin was dead and significantly underdeveloped compared to the larger twin.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

4. Australia: Critically endangered western swamp tortoise seized from Gidgegannup house
SOURCE: – DATE: 19th August 2016

Police searching a home in Perth's north have seized a critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina), with wildlife authorities describing the find as "massively significant” as western swamp tortoise is Australia's most endangered reptile.

The tortoise was bred in captivity at Perth Zoo in Australia in 1990 and released into the wild at the Twin Swamps Nature Reserve, but had not been seen by researchers since 2010. Police alerted wildlife authorities after finding the 26-year-old male tortoise, along with a wild Oblong Turtle (Chelodina oblonga) and a blind snake. The tortoise will go to Perth Zoo for a veterinary check before being released back into the wild.

Link to this web article online (English)

Western Pond Turtle

© G. Mine


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