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Asian Turtle Crisis News covers activities involving turtle conservation and research in the region that have been reported over the previous month through the Asian Turtle Conservation Network (ATCN).


Asian Turtle Program
Interview surveys for endangered tortoise and freshwater turtles in the central highlands of Vietnam
High species diversity and endemism are associated with the range of climatic conditions and habitat found in the annamite mountain range of the central highlands in Vietnam. Unsurprisingly this area is an exciting prospect for conducting tortoise and freshwater turtles surveys and is considered a priority for the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Asian Turtle Program
Recent concerns raised about the health of the Hoan Kiem Turtle in Hanoi?s
famous lake.

The Hoan Kiem Turtle in Hanoi?s central Hoan Kiem Lake is famous in Vietnam due
to the 16th century legend that relates to this species. Known as Swinhoe?s Softshell
Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) the species is critically endangered due to a combination
of habitat loss and illegal hunting and trade.

TSA magazine
Training detection dogs (August 2010)
A feature article from TSA magazine on a project in Vietnam involving training of dogs to assist in locating turtles during field surveys.

TSA magazine
First ?Turtle Cup? Soccer Match for Dong Mo Lake Turtle (August 2010)
A feature article from TSA magazine on new creative community activities aimed at enhancing protection of the world?s last known wild Rafetus swinhoei.

Hundreds of tortoises seized in Malaysia (July 16, 2010)
A TRAFFIC story on the seizure of hundreds of tortoises from Madagascar seized from two suspects entering Malaysia. The tortoises included radiated and ploughshare tortoises.

The Last Tortoise (June 22, 2010)
A new book by University of Southern California biologist Craig Stanford highlights the decline of tortoises and freshwater turtles resulting from hunting and trade, mainly to feed the demand from Chinese consumers.

Chelonian Interpretation Center Opens (March 10, 2010)
Cuc Phuong National Park opened the doors to the region?s first visitor interpretation center focused exclusively on the conservation and protection of tortoises and freshwater turtles.

Asian Turtle Program
Close Call for World?s Last Rafetus in the Wild (Posted March 2010)
A summary of events leading up to the successful rescue of the last known living Rafetus swinhoei in the wild, captured by fishermen in a stream west of Hanoi in November 2008.

Turtle Conservation Fund
Seven Asian Turtle Proposals Funded (March 9, 2010)
The November 2009 funding cycle resulted in seven proposals focused on Asian turtle species receiving funding from TCF and the Shellshock campaign.  See the list of proposals funded.

Asian Turtle Program
Environmental Education Course Focuses on Turtles (February 2010)
A brief summary on a Vietnam?s first national workshop focused on science and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. 

Asian Turtle Program
First National Workshop on Reptiles and Amphibians (Posted January 27, 2010)
A brief summary on a Vietnam?s first national workshop focused on science and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. 


Keeled box turtle rescued through web monitoring (November 2, 2009)
A brief summary on the rescue of a keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii) after an advertisement offering the animal for sale was posted on a popular website. 

Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)
Mission Philippines (Posted September 28, 2009)
A brief informal summary of the TSA mission to the Philippines where the team met with local partners working on the Philippine forest turtle, Siebenrockiella leytensis.

Cambodian law to protect most freshwater turtles (July 27, 2009)
A brief note on a new law in Cambodia that will extend protection to most freshwater turtle species there.

Asian Turtle Program ? Posted June 16, 2009
Hong Kong students learn radio telemetry technique to track turtles
A brief summary of a training initiative for students from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on radio tracking of terrestrial turtles at Cuc Phuong National Park.    

Asian Turtle Program ? Posted May 7, 2009
Workshop brings Rafetus Dong Mo stakeholders together
A brief summary of a meeting held by the Asian Turtle Program with local stakeholders at the last remaining site where Swinhoei?s soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is known to survive in the wild.

ATCN Posting ? Reported March 18, 2009
Malayan Giant Turtle, Orlitia borneensis hunting still hot in Borneo
A brief field note from Borneo on hunting of giant Malayan turtles.    

Turtle Survival Alliance ? January 26, 2009 (Posted)
Developing an integrated strategy for handling confiscated turtles in Burma
A brief summary of developments in Burma as reported by Rick Hudson of the TSA, including news on a January workshop in Mandalay on dealing with confiscated turtles, and updates on star tortoises and conservation breeding of Kachuga (Batagur) trivittata at the Yadadabon Zoo. 

Education for Nature ? Vietnam (ENV) ? January 6, 2009
Critically endangered turtles rescued from trade (Vietnam)
Environmental Police  and Forest rangers confiscated 19 turtles representing six species including two critically endangered species; Mauremys annamensis and Cuora bourreti. 


Asian Turtle Program ? November 27, 2008
One of the World's Rarest Turtles Rescued in Vietnam
A brief report on the rescue of the last known wild example of Rafetus swinhoei from fishermen in a small village west of Hanoi 

Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) - July 4, 2008 (China)
Rafetus swinhoei
Breeding Update from China
45 eggs have been recovered from the nesting area where the world?s only known captive female Rafetus swinhoei has nested at Suzhou Zoo. 

Honghe University (China) ? Posted June 11, 2008

Summary of a workshop on conservation of Rafetus swinhoei in the Red River drainage of southern China
A brief summary of a workshop at Honghe University in late May on conservation of Rafetus swinhoei which included training of Fisheries and law enforcement officers on soft-shell turtle identification and bringing attention to the conservation and protection needs of the species.

Asian Turtle Program ? June 4, 2008
Conservation of the Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) in Central Vietnam
A brief project summary by the ATP on efforts to protect the critically endangered Vietnamese pond turtle in the wild. 

Asian Turtle Program - April 17, 2008
Discovering a Legend
A press release from the Asian Turtle Program on the discovery of the world's last known remaining Rafetus swinhoei in the wild.

Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV) - April 16,2008
Film to Strengthen Public Awareness and Help Protect Turtles
ENV and Asian Turtle Program (ATP) have released a new short educational film produced depicting the journey of a turtle from forest to market from the perspective of the turtle. A U-tube connection is included in the PDF document.

Asian Turtle Program ? April 4, 2008
Field skills training course in Myanmar helps prepare next generation to conserve turtles
A summary and photo gallery of training course in Myanmar carried out by CI and the ATP in November 2007 (apologies for the late posting).

Asian Turtle Program ? March 26, 2008
Training aims to encourage interest in turtles
The ATP has completed its fourth annual chelonian field skills training course for students and young professionals. Eleven students attended this year?s course at Cuc Phuong National Park.

Mindanao Bureau - February 2, 2008 (Philippines)
No Way Home for 71 Turtles
A news article about the recent release of 71 Cuora amboninensis that had been confiscated by Philippine authorities


Asian Turtle Program ? November 28, 2007
Turtle ID Training Courses Focus on Wildlife Protection Agencies in HCM and Binh Thuan province
The ATP completed two Turtle Identification, Ecology, and Trade training courses for 48 rangers from the HCM and Binh Thuan Forest Protection Departments.

Asian Turtle Program ? October 24, 2007
Bintan Laguran Resort to Conserve Local Turtles
A brief summary of a field mission in October to the Bintan Laguran Resort where an ATP technical advisor worked with resort staff to conduct surveys for freshwater turtles and develop a conservation program for species native to the area.

Conservation International Cambodia Program ? August 15, 2007
51 Turtles seized by authorities from military car (Cambodia)
Forest Administration officers and Military Police working in the CentralCardamomMountains confiscated 51 Hieremys annandalii and Heosemys grandis from a car headed for the Vietnamese border. 

Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team ? July 2007
Turtle Survey in Prey Long, Cambodia
A brief report on the results of freshwater turtle surveys in the Prey Long area of the Mekong River by the BP sponsored Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team.

Asian Turtle Program ? June 2, 2007
Turtle training for Customs officers and Forest Protection Department rangers along the Cambodian border
A summary of recent training for customs and wildlife protection officers in three provinces in southern Vietnam

Asian Turtle Program ? May 21, 2007
Central Vietnam Survey Finds Turtles on the Menu
The Asian Turtle Program took to the road again hosting a university lecture, evaluating rescue centers, visiting one of the country?s largest soft-shell turtle farms, and working with ENV?s Wildlife Crime Unit conducting wildlife surveys in restaurants and other business establishments in two cities.

Asian Turtle Program ? March 2007
Field skills training course builds capacity amongst students, Vietnam 2007
The Asian Turtle Program completed its third annual Chelonian field skills training course for university students and young professionals.


Turtle Survival Alliance ? December 16, 2006
New Captive Facility for Burmese roofed turtle opened in December
The new Kachuga trivittata pond and captive rearing center was officially opened at the Yadanabon Zoo, December 16. 

Education for Nature ? Vietnam - December 15, 2006
ENV Training of Environmental Educators to Help Protect Freshwater Turtles in Cambodia
A press release on the training of the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team in preparation for a project in southern Cambodia aimed at protecting turtles. 

Education for Nature ? Vietnam ? December 2006
Dong Xuan Wildlife Market Closed
A brief news summary on the success of efforts by a local NGO to close down Hanoi?s principal wildlife market, where Vietnam?s turtles have been sold openly for years. 

Vietnam ? December 2006
Mauremys annamensis recorded in natural habitat after 65 years
A news report from the Asian Turtle Program on the successful trapping of a wild Mauremys annamensis in central Vietnam, the first wild record for the species since 1941.

Cambodia ? November 2006
Chelonian Turtle Field Skills Training Course in Cambodia
A news report on a training course for students and young professionals in Cambodia aimed at building local capacity and interest in turtle research. 

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust  ? October 2006
Training Workshop on the Management, Conservation, and Research of Endangered Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises of India
A summary of the October training workshop at the Madras Crocodile Bank?s Center for Herpetology for scientists, researchers, and enforcement officers on conservation and management of India?s Chelonians. 

WCS China Program ? September 2006
Action Plan for the Conservation of the Giant Yangtze Softshell Rafetus swinhoei
A DRAFT report detailing the results of the September 2006 workshop aimed at developing a conservation strategy for the species, five of which remain in Chinese zoos and a pagoda pond.

WWF Laos ? September 2006
New resources produced by WWF Laos help identify turtles
WWF Laos has completed a new set of educational resources aimed at promoting turtle conservation and helping identify turtles during surveys.  The materials include a poster of species native to Laos and a small identification book with information about each species.

Asian Turtle Program ? 2006
The Adventures of Lucky Turtle (English) released
Education for Nature ? Vietnam and the Hanoi-based Asian Turtle Program released the English-language version of the Adventures of Lucky Turtle about the life of a turtle in Vietnam, and the adventures  it faces after being caught be hunters and sold into the trade.

Cambodia ? September 2006
Big-headed turtle first confirmed record for Cambodia
A brief news note on the recent finding of Platysternon megacephalum in Virachey National Park, northeastern Cambodia.   

Turtle Conservation Center (Vietnam) ? September 2006
New enclosure expands captive holding capacity for the endangered keeled box turtle, Cuora mouhotii.
A brief news note on the development of a new enclosure for keeled box turtles at the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center.

Cuc Phuong National Park ? August 21, 2006
First captive birth of Geoemyda spengleri at Turtle Conservation Center
In July, the TCC succeeded with the center?s first captive birth of a black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda spengleri)

Asian Turtle Program, August 1, 2006
Field Survey for Cuora bourreti in Central Vietnam
The field team completed a month-long survey for Cuora bourreti at Song Thanh Nature Reserve in central Vietnam.  The survey team identified keys sites in advance of developing a field-based conservation project focused on the reserve.

WCS Myanmar, June 30, 2006
Chindwin River Update:  88 offspring reported
The WCS field team reports that 88 hatchling Burmese roofed-terrapins, Kachuga trivittata, have emerged from protected nests this year.

Conservation International, June 30, 2006
In Search of Platysternon megacephalum at Virachey National Park (Cambodia)
A brief summary report by David Emmett on the results of a June field survey at Virachey National Park in northeastern Cambodia.

Turtle Survival Alliance, June 28, 2006
Disney Grant Supports Community Awareness Activities in Cambodia
The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund will support efforts to raise awareness in local communities in southwestern Cambodia about the need to protect Cambodia?s endangered turtles and tortoises.

ATCN, June 26, 2006
Da Nang Police Seize Turtles (Vietnam)
Da Nang police confiscated 179 turtles representing six species from a bus heading up Highway 1.  The turtles were turned over to the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center (TCC)

WCS Cambodia, June 1, 2006
Urgent effort underway to complete Batagur baska facilities in Cambodia
Conservationists race to complete facilities and preserve a representative group of Cambodia?s last remaining Batagur baska on the Sre Ambel River.

WCS Cambodia, June 1, 2006
Batagur baska holding facility update ? June 1, 2006 (Cambodia)
An updated report on the status of facilities being developed to hold a portion of this year?s Batagur baska offspring on the Sre Ambel River.

ATCN, May 30, 2006
Finding the Vietnamese Pond Turtle in Central Vietnam
A brief summary of findings from a month-long survey for Mauremys annamensis in central Vietnam.

ATCN Staff report, May 26, 2006
New Wildlife Protection Law in Vietnam
Vietnam?s new wildlife protection law, Decree 32, lists seven of Vietnam?s 25 native tortoises and freshwater turtles as protected.

ATCN Staff report, May 17, 2006
Looking at Attitudes Toward Turtles and Trade
Sixty-two Xuan Mai Forestry College students trained on turtle identification and participated in helping test a new training module focused on learning more about public attitudes toward turtles and trade.

Cambodian Turtle Team, May 12, 2006
O?Som training initiative
The Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team carried out a training course for members of local communities living near the Veal Veng marsh (Pursat province) on turtles.

ATCN News ? Cuc Phuong Turtle Center (Vietnam), May 12, 2006
Cuc Phuong Turtle Centre benefits from Veterinary support and training
Bronx Zoo veterinarians help provide training and support to improve captive management and care of rescued turtles

ATCN News ? Hanoi, May 16, 2006
New Hatchling Building to Relieve Crowding Situation at Turtle Center
New hatchling-rearing building donated by the Dutch Tortoise Society relieves crowding at the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center

ATCN News - Hanoi, May 11, 2006
Endemic Vietnamese Pond turtles come home
Press release: Thirty-four critically endangered Vietnamese pond turtles, Mauremys annamensis, were returned to Vietnam from China.

TSA News , April 26, 2006
TSA Announces Seed Grants
The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) has awarded a total of $8,745 in seed grants to help support five conservation initiatives in the Asia region

Sitha Som, April 2006
Phnom Bakan Survey Reaches New Heights ? April 2006 (Cambodia)
A brief report by the BP Turtle Conservation Team on surveys conducted in April on the Phnom Bakan Plateau of the Cardamom Mountains.

ATCN News , Kon Tum Province - Vietnam, April 18, 2006
Big headed turtles seized on Cambodian border
Border guards arrested smugglers with 45 big-headed turtles along the Vietnam-Cambodian border.

Asian Turtle Program ? March 31, 2006
Rafetus surveys in Yen Bai Province - Vietnam
Field surveys in Yen Bai Province failed to yield evidence of surviving population.  Surveys will focus to further up the main river.

Conservation International, March 2006
Market survey Indicates that Farmed Species Dominate Chinese Markets but...
A brief summary report on findings from a survey of Chinese markets by Peter Paul van Dijk

ATCN staff report, March 30, 2006
Constituency Building in Vietnam
The Asian Turtle Program carried out its fifth major training initiative over the past year focused on developing interests, skills, and experience amongst students and young professionals on Vietnam?s tortoises and freshwater turtles.

ATCN Staff report, March 11, 2006
Turtle shipment seized in Da Nang City
Wildlife protection authorities seized 50 kg of wildlife including rat snakes and 34 turtles from a bus heading north to Ha Tinh Province.  The turtles included four species; Cuora picturata, Cuora mouhotii, Indotestudo elongata, and Cyclemys pulchristriata.

ATCN Staff report, March 1, 2006
Getting a second chance
A brief summary on the issue of translocation in Vietnam and recent developments by Doug Hendrie of the Asian Turtle Program.

WCS Cambodia, March 2006
Social Research in the known range of Batagur baska in Cambodia
A brief report by Kate McMahon of WCS Cambodia summarizing the results of interviews carried out in communities aimed at evaluating present threats to Batagur baska in areas where the turtle is known to persist in southwest Cambodia.

ATCN News, February 26, 2006
The Asian Turtle Crisis on Tour
Three Turtle Identification, Ecology, and Trade training workshops were carried out in central Vietnam for wildlife protection officers in mid-February, with 60 rangers from three provinces participating in training aimed at strengthening their turtle identification skills, and encouraging greater interest and awareness about the protection needs of Vietnam?s chelonians.

ATCN News, January 18, 2006
TCF Awards Announcement
The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) has awarded grants to four projects in Asia during the last round of grant applications in 2005.

ATCN News, January 15, 2006
New Calendar Promotes Turtle Awareness in Cambodia
A new calendar produced by Conservation International and the Cambodia Turtle Conservation Team will help raise awareness about the need to protect the country?s turtles, as well as assist Forestry and Fisheries Department officers identify species that are native to the country.


ATCN News, December 2005
Repatriated Batagur baska Released Back into the Wild
An adult male Batagur baska that was confiscated from traders in Tay Ninh Province and returned to Cambodia after confirming its origin from a microchip implanted in the turtle, was released back into the Sre Ambel River system.

ATCN News, December 7, 2005
Tam Dao rangers learn about turtles and trade
The Asian Turtle Program carried out its 15th training course focused on strengthening protection for Vietnam's turtles.

Asian Mountain Tortoise Project Launched
ATCN News , November 30, 2005
A new project at a national park in western Thailand will focus on learning more about the home range and ecology of Manouria emys phayrei in the wild. 

Turtle Trade in Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
ATCN News , November 25, 2005
A brief market report by Sitha Som of the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Project documents 33 turtles representing three species.

Turtle Training Course Focuses on Veterinary Care and Management of Confiscated Turtles in Vietnam
ATCN News , November 23, 2005
The Cuc Phuong National Park Turtle Conservation Center (TCC) hosted Vietnam?s first chelonian veterinary training course in November for veterinary and keeper staff from four major wildlife rescue centers in Vietnam.

?God give me strength? Keeled Box Turtle (Pyxidea mouhotii) rescued from Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam
ATCN News , November 21, 2005

A keeled box turtle was rescued from Hoan Kiem Lake after being thrown in with a message painted on it.

The Clock is Ticking for Survival of Kachuga trivittata
ATCN News , November 14, 2005
In October, the Chindwin River Conservation project was launched.  Village awareness activities were carried out in five priority villages and patrols began routine coverage of critical sections of the river. 

Hoan Kiem Turtle Observed Basking
ATCN News , November 8, 2005
The Hoan Kiem Rafetus swinhoei made a rare appearance on the island when the sun first broke following several days of stormy weather in Hanoi.

TSA Announces Seed Grant Program
ATCN News , November 2005
The TSA has launched a new small grant program intended to help facilitate further development of turtle conservation initiatives in the Asia region.  The grant deadline is January 31.  Grants range from $1000-2000 USD.

Training Wildlife Protection Officers in Cambodia
ATCN News , October 17, 2005
The Cambodia turtle team held a training course in Phnom Penh aimed at increasing awareness about the need to protect Cambodia?s tortoises and freshwater turtles, and building identification skills amongst wildlife protection authorities from the Forestry and Fisheries Departments.

Worshipping the Tortoise of Prasat Raingsey Pagoda
An interesting contribution by Sitha Som of the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team about an impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) held at a temple in Cambodia.  The tortoise is believed to have healing power, and some believers are drinking water that the tortoises bathes in to bring luck or improve their health.

Turtles seized in Nghe An Province
Education for Nature - Vietnam , October 10, 2005
Wildlife investigation report by Education for Nature - Vietnam.

Xuan Mai Forestry College Seniors Develop Interests in Turtles
ATCN News , October 3, 2005
Turtle conservation experts hosted a special seminar on Vietnam 's turtles for more than 130 students and ten professors from the Xuan Mai Forestry College.

Turtles Released at Cat Tien Get Second Chance at Survival
ATCN News , September 26, 2005
Once destined for the soup pots of China, a few lucky turtles will get a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of concerned wildlife protection authorities and conservationists.

Strengthening Protection for Turtles in Hoa Binh (pdf)
ATCN News , September 7, 2005
Cuc Phuong National Park and the Asian Turtle Conservation program hosted a training workshop for Hoa Binh provincial wildlife protection authorities.

News release: Saved by the microchip
WCS, July 17, 2005
An extremely rare ?royal? turtle narrowly escaped a trip to a Chinese soup-pot, thanks to a tiny microchip implanted in its skin, according to experts from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, who rediscovered the species four years ago in Cambodia

EU Bans Imports of wildlife from Asia
ATCN Staff report, February 2005
The EU has suspended imports of five Asian turtle species.


Four new Asian Turtle species are listed on CITES Appendix II (pdf)
ATCN, October 15, 2004

Report on Pig-nosed turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) destined for Japan, seized at Jakarta airport (Indonesia) (pdf)
ATCN Press Release, September 24, 2004

New hatchling enclosures completed at the Turtle Conservation Center, Cuc Phuong (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, July 29, 2004

New enclosure for critically the endangered Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) at the Turtle Conservation Center, Cuc Phuong (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, July 29, 2004

Wildlife Crimes Unit Nabs Turtle Smuggler on Sumatra (Indonesia) (pdf)
ATCN, July 29, 2004

Turtle Conservation Fund Awards Announced (pdf)
ATCN, July 7, 2004

Conserving the Burmese Roofed-terrapin (Kachuga trivittata) (Myanmar) (pdf)
ATCN, June 21, 2004

New hatchlings emerge along the Kaong River (Cambodia) (pdf)
ATCN, June 21, 2004

Cardamom Mountain Project Update (pdf)
ATCN, June 14, 2004

Vietnam-China CITES Training for Enforcement Officers (pdf)
ATCN, May 31, 2004
Report by the ATCN documenting the training of custom department officers during a four-day workshop.

Ranger Training in Quang Binh (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, May 25, 2004
Report by the ATCN documenting the training of forest rangers in preparation for a provincial-wide wildlife trade survey.

Laos Peoples Democratic Republic joins CITES (pdf)
ATCN, May 20, 2004

Turtle Shipment Seized in Hong Kong (pdf)
ATCN, May 8, 2004

Vet Asia - New Advice for Asian Turtle Health (pdf)
ATCN, May 7 2004

Quang Nam Turtle Confiscation and Release Report (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, April 8, 2004

First Regional Turtle Workshop held in Singapore (pdf)
ATCN, April 4 2004

Da Nang Trade Seizure (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, March 17, 2004

Ninh Binh Trade Seizure (Vietnam) (pdf)
ATCN, February 19, 2004


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