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No. 77, 26th April 2013

Korea: Korean researchers remotely control turtles using non-invasive system

DATE: 25th April, 2013

Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have managed to remotely control the movements of a turtle using a non-invasive steering system. The team used completely untrained red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) for their research, and played with their innate obstacle-avoidance behaviour. If they see that something is blocking their path in one direction, they naturally move to avoid it. To control the turtles' movements, researchers attached a black half cylinder to the turtle, a little like the visor of a motorcycle helmet, but opaque and with a cover on the top to block any light from above. This was initially positioned around the turtle's rear end, but was pivoted around using a microcontroller and a servo motor to either the left or the right to partially block the turtles vision on one side. This made the turtle believe there was an obstacle it needed to avoid on that side and so encouraged it to move in the other direction. The research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology was keen to find out if they could control an untrained animal in a non-invasive way that encouraged voluntary behaviour. Turtles were chosen because it's easy to follow their movement and they can live in a range of different habitats on land and in water. The researchers think that the technology could be used to replace our dependence on robotic probes in deep-sea environments.

You can read the full study, titled Remote Guidance of Untrained Turtles by Controlling Voluntary Instinct Behaviour on PLoSOne

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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Bac Giang, Vietnam: Wild animals seized in Luc Nam District

DATE: 21st April, 2013

On the 21st of April the Environmental Police Department of Bac Giang province (Vietnam) discovered 90 kg of Banded kraits (Bungarus fasciatus) (ATP NOTE: a highly venomous snake species), 20 kg of civets, one Keeled Box Turle (Cuora mouhotii), 7 partridges, one eagle and two kestrels being illegally transported to Hai Duong city (Thanh Hà District) on highway 31 of Luc Nam District. All of the animals were transferred to the local authority.

Link to this article online (Vietnamese)


Quang Tri, Vietnam: 124 kg wild animals confiscated at Lao Bao border gate

SOURCE: Bao Hai Quan;
DATE: 25th April, 2013

On the morning of the 25th of April, Lao Bao border gate customs and border officials in Quang Tri province discovered a group of people that were attempting to traffic wild animals from Laos to Vietnam. However, due to the difficult terrain, the officers were unable to capture the criminals but found bags that they had left behind. The officers found 124 kilograms of wild animals in these bags including pangolins, lizards, striped-neck leaf turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii), snakes, etc. These animals were then transferred over to the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of Huong Hoa district.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)



4. Quang Ninh, Vietnam: 29 turtles and Fujian Cypress (timber) seized on coach

SOURCE: - DATE: 20th April, 2013

In the morning of the 19 th of April, while patrolling on the national highway 18A in Ha Long city, the working team of the Central transport control and patrol department (Quang Ninh Police Department) discovered a large amount of timber (Fokienia hodginsii) and 29 turtles including 2 Big head turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), 17 Keeled Box turtles (Cuora mouhotii), 2 Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) and 8 Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) on a coach . No information about the origin of the turtles was provided. The turtles were transferred to the Economic Police of Ha Long City. Note: the picture in the online article was copied fromthe internet and is not of the animals confiscated.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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