Asian Turtle Program
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No. 254, 30th October 2016

1. Bac Lieu province, Vietnam: 9kg turtle found by local resident
SOURCE: – DATE: 25th September 2016

On the 23rd of September 2016, a man named Quach Tan Luc found a large turtle in his shrimp farm. The turtle weighed 9kg and was 50cm in length. It appeared to be a Yellow-headed Pond Turtle (Heosemys annandalii). Curious about the turtle, many people have visited Mr. Dung’s house to see it, some were willing to buy it at high price (VND 50,000,000, equivalent to $US 2,246). However, Mr. Dung turned down all offers and decided to release it back to the nature.

ATP NOTE: it is not unusual in Vietnam for turtles found in unusual circumstance to attract attention or to be seen as symbols of good fortune or of religious meaning. Occasionally high prices are offered for such animals.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

9kg found in Bac Lieu


2. The Ploughshare Tortoise’s Countdown to Extinction
SOURCE: – DATE: 26th September 2016

For millions of years, the Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) has borne witness to the history of its only home on the planet: Madagascar. The tortoise was around when humans first settled Madagascar 2,000 years ago, persisting through the establishment of trading settlements in the 1500s. Yet these ancient creatures, which have hung on for millennia, are now on the very verge of extinction in the wild—possibly within the next two years.

Demand has been ravaging the last population of the rare tortoises. Ploughshares are highly valued in the global pet trade, particularly by private collectors, because of their beautiful and large golden-domed shell. In the last five years, we’ve seen a massive surge in poaching to satisfy the demand from such collectors, primarily in China and Southeast Asia, who will pay top dollar due to the species’ rarity; this is pushing the tortoise out of existence.

Link to this web article online (English)

Ploughshare Tortoise

© P. Paul van Dijk

turtle t

© London's Natural History Museum

3. Turtles and Tortoises Affected More By Habitat Loss Than Rising Temperature
SOURCE: – DATE: 26th September 2016

New research says that habitat loss and degradation poses a greater risk to the survival of turtles and tortoises than warm temperatures

Habitat loss and degradation pose bigger threat to turtles and tortoises than rising temperatures, new research suggests.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, London's Natural History Museum, and the University of California analysed and showed that earlier tortoise and turtles were able to withstand warmer climates in the past as long as they have enough water resources to support themselves and to live in their habitats. It means that climate change is having a less devastating impact on turtles and tortoise than we initially thought and many other factors are likely contributing more to their recent decline.

Link to this web article online (English)

4. Australia: Rare hybrid turtle to be released in Queensland
SOURCE: – DATE: 28th September 2016

A rare hybrid turtle will be released back into the wild on the Great Barrier Reef after being nursed back to health at a Townsville aquarium in Australia.

The reptile, named Summer, is a cross between a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and a Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) - the first of its kind recorded in Australia. Summer has just spent more than six months being cared for at the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium's turtle hospital. She was nursed back to health after being found at the Port of Townsville with severe injuries from two fishing hooks lodged in her mouth.

Link to this web article online (English)

Hawkbill turtle

© Getty Images

5. Six arrested for illegal turtle trafficking in Madagascar
SOURCE: - DATE: 29th September 2016

Six people are waiting for trial in jail for illegal turtles trafficking in Madagascar, a civil society organization on environment protection said on Wednesday (28th September 2016).

The traffickers were arrested in a hotel in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo last Thursday (22nd September 2016), when they planned to sell 199 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) closed in a suitcase, Riana Randrianarisoa, communication officer of Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG) told Xinhua.

The arrests were made during a joint operation by AVG, police and the justice as well as the Network of Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE), which is leading the fight against wildlife crime in Madagascar.

Link to this web article online (English)


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