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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 276, 3rd March 2017

1. China: More than 3,300 smuggled tortoises seized in S. China customs
SOURCE: ecns.cn - DATE: 25th February 2017

More than 3,300 live tortoises smuggled from Hong Kong were seized in Guangdong, customs in the southern province announced Friday (24th February 2017).

The tortoises, which weighed 86 kilograms in total, were discovered by Huanggang Customs in Shenzhen, China at about 1 a.m. Thursday, said Wang Shaowen, an official with the customs office. The truck had been declared "empty" but when it was inspected a hidden compartment was discovered, which was where the tortoises were concealed. The tortoises are in quarantine while the investigation continues.

ATP Note: the use of hidden compartments highlights the challenges enforcement agencies can face in the increasingly secretive illegal wildlife trade. 

Link to this web article online (English)

2. Japan: Rare, lethargic turtle being trained to regain its wild side
SOURCE: asahi.com – DATE: 25th February 2017

A Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) became a shell of its former self at an aquarium here, so a young woman is now training the reptile to help get its mojo back. Since arriving at the World Freshwater Aquarium Aquatotto Gifu in Japan in June 2015, the turtle has appeared devoid of all drive, mainly staying idle in the corner of its tank.

Yuka Kondo, a 26-year-old animal trainer at Aquatotto Gifu, is currently helping the lethargic Big-headed Turtle reclaim its wild side. When she sounds a whistle, the turtle turns its head and sets its eyes on the piece of fish Kondo holds in a pair of tongs. The hungry creature follows the bait to a pool inside its tank. After another blow on the whistle, the turtle curls its tail and grabs onto a branch near the water surface. With its eyes fixed on the fish meat, it then slowly climbs onto the rocks toward the back of the tank and finally eats the food.

Link to this web article online (English)

3. Railway cops seize 1,302 tortoises, arrest three people
SOURCE: timesofindia.indiatimes.com – DATE: 26th February 2017

Three people were arrested by the railway police at Malda station (Malda district, West Bengal, India) on Saturday morning (26th February 2017) while trying to smuggle 1,302 softshell turtles concealed in 35 bags. The accused and the tortoises have been handed over to the forest department.

Link to this web article online (English)

turtle confiscation

© Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

4. Indonesia: Law enforcers recover 38 sea turtles in eastern Indonesia — 6 of them dead
SOURCE mongabay.com – DATE: 1st March 2017

The creatures are believed to have been trafficked from the richest nesting ground in the Maluku Islands.

Indonesian police arrested five fishermen last week for trafficking 38 sea turtles from an important nesting site in the archipelago country's eastern waters. Six of the turtles were dead. The reptiles had been taken from Enu Island, at the heart of the 114,000-hectare Southeast Aru Nature Reserve in the Arafura Sea. Enu's white-sand beaches are home to the area's richest turtle nesting grounds, but the creatures' numbers have fallen sharply as poachers harvest their meat and eggs, a delicacy in some countries, and shells and skins, used to make jewellery, tourist souvenirs and other objects.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. Australia: Feral pig proof fence could save 40,000 endangered turtle eggs on remote Queensland beach
SOURCE: abc.net.au – DATE: 1st March 2017

A simple fencing solution could help protect up to 40,000 endangered sea turtle eggs from being destroyed each year by feral pigs on a remote beach at Aurukun, on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula (Queensland, Australia).

Indigenous rangers from the Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation have sectioned off a 19-kilometre stretch of beach, using nets and star pickets. South Wik Beach was said to be home to some of the world's most endangered species, including the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), and was ideal landscape for the spit-fencing programme.

Link to this web article online (English)

feral pig footprint

© B. Ross

leatherback sea turtle

© vietnamnet.vn

6. Vietnam: Rare sea turtle caught by fisherman
SOURCE: vietnamnet.vn - DATE: 2nd March 2017

This morning, a fisherman named Nguyen Van Cuong caught a turtle when fishing at Lam river (Ha Tinh province, Vietnam. The turtle was 50 kg in weight and 1m in length. For 50 years of fishing, Mr. Cuong has not seen any creature like this turtle. He immediately reported the case to local authorities. It is said that the turtle would be released back to the nature.

ATP NOTE: As seen from the picture, the turtle appears to be a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

 

 
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