Bulletin:  June 1, 2006

The Asian Turtle Conservation Network bulletin is produced monthly as part of efforts to enhance information sharing amongst people interested or working with turtles globally.  The bulletin is distributed through the Asian Turtle Network.  To be added to the distribution list, please visit our website  asianturtlenetwork.org and sign up to become a member of the network.

Hot News

Chindwin River Project Hatchling Success ? May 2006 (Myanmar)
Fifty-six Burmese roofed terrapin (Kachuga trivittata) hatchlings have emerged so far from guarded nests on the upper Chindwin River where a WCS-led project has focused on in-situ conservation of what may be the last remaining breeding population of the species.  The Burmese roofed terrapin is endemic to Myanmar, and is widely considered as the second most critically endangered turtle species in the world.  A small surviving population of Burmese roofed terrapins was discovered on the upper Chindwin River by Gerald Kuchling in 2004.  In 2005, WCS launched a major effort to conserve the species within its habitat on the Chindwin River.  During the first nesting season in early 2006, approximately 200 eggs were collected from eight nesting females on Chindwin beaches. Source:  WCS

Vietnamese pond turtles come home ? May 11, 2006 (Vietnam)
Vietnam welcomed the return of 34 Vietnamese pond turtles (Mauremys annamensis) from Hong Kong, the first-ever repatriation of animals recovered from trade and returned back to Vietnam.

Reports From the Front

Looking at Attitudes Toward Turtles and Trade ? May 17, 2006 (Vietnam)
Sixty-two Xuan Mai Forestry College students learned how to identify turtles and participate in helping test a new training module focused on assessing public attitudes toward turtles and trade.

Finding Mauremys annamensis ? May 15, 2006 (Vietnam)
A month-long survey in central Vietnam succeeded in locating several sites where the critically endangered endemic Vietnamese pond turtle still survives in the wild.  Seven live specimens were also observed in local hands during surveys that were intended in part to identify potential project sites. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/ATCN_news/2006_articles/Finding_the_Vietnamese_Pond_Turtle_in_Central_Vietnam.html

New Hatchling Building at TCC ? May 16, 2006 (Vietnam)
A new hatchling-rearing building donated by the Dutch Tortoise Society was completed in March 2006, making available desperately needed indoor space for hatchlings at the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center.

Veterinary Support Program Benefits Cuc Phuong Turtle Center ? May 12, 2006 (Vietnam)
Bronx Zoo veterinarians helped provide training and support to improve captive management and care of rescued turtles at Cuc Phuong National Park.  A field report on training by Dr. Paul Calle in May 2006. 

Chindwin River Project update ? April 2006 (Myanmar)
A progress report on efforts to conserve Kachuga trivittata on the Chindwin River in Myanmar, 2005-2006.  Report by Win Ko Ko of WCS.

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 within the Cardamom Mountains.

Social interviews shed new light on Batagur baska in Southwest Cambodia ? March 2006
A brief report by Kate McMahon of WCS Cambodia summarizing the results of interviews carried out in local communities within the Batagur baska project area aimed at evaluating present threats to the species.

Constituency Building in Vietnam? March 30, 2006
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.  The field skills training course lasted 10 days and was held at Cuc Phuong National Park.

Getting a Second Chance ? March 2006 (Vietnam)
A brief summary report on the issue of translocation in Vietnam and recent developments.

Turtle Seized in Trade ? March 2006 (Da Nang City, Vietnam)
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.

Chinese Markets Dominated by Farmed Species ? March 2006
A brief summary of findings from surveys carried out during March of turtle markets in China by Peter Paul van Dijk.

Prek Youn Field Survey in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia ? February 2006
A report by Sitha Som and the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team field team on the results of February surveys in the Prek Youn area of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia.

News Notes

Sre Ambel Project Nesting and Hatchling Results ? May 26, 2006 (Cambodia)
As of the 26th of May, 47 mangrove terrapin (Batagur baska) hatchlings have emerged from 59 fertile eggs laid in their clutches on Kaong River beaches.  The nests here incubated in-situ.  A fourth nest comprised of 15 eggs was reportedly infertile.  Source:  Sovannara Heng, Department of Fisheries, Cambodia.

New Wildlife Protection Law in Vietnam ? March 2006
In March 2006, the government passed Decree 32, a revision of previous wildlife protection law Decree 48.  The new law lists seven of Vietnam?s 25 native tortoises and freshwater turtles as protected.

Rafetus dies in China ? August 2005
One of six known living examples of Rafetus swinhoei is dead, according to Chinese authorities.  The turtle, on display at Beijing Zoo, apparently died in August 2005.  Four other turtles are known to survive in China.  One is at the Shanghai Zoo, another at the Suzhou Zoo, and two in a Suzhou monastery pond.  The only known living Rafetus in Vietnam lives in Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of Hanoi.  Efforts to find Rafetus in the wild have thus far failed to confirm its presence.  The best hope for their survival may be to work with Chinese authorities to bring the surviving turtles in China together in order to establish a conservation breeding program.  ATCN News Note

EU Bans Imports of some turtle species from Asia ? February 2005
A suspension of imports of some Asian turtle species was put in place in February 2005.  This is an old issue but may not be widely known within the turtle community.  Restrictions apply to five Asian species.

Press Box

Cambodian faithful pray to tortoise to heal the sick ? May 26, 2006
A news story on the perceived healing powers of turtles in Cambodia.

ATCN Note:  This is an old story.  The article identifies the turtle as an impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) but a red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta),is clearly shown in the photo. 

Importer?s Rare Tortoise a Labor of Love ? May 23, 2006
A news article about the trade of Burmese star tortoises (Geochelone platynota) in Japan with references to trade from Myanmar.

ATCN Note:  Wild populations of Burmese star tortoises are not recovering as suggested in the article.  Moreover, unless the law has changed in Myanmar, star tortoise are currently listed as one of two fully protected turtle species under law, and may not be commercially exploited under any circumstances.

141 baskets of monitor lizards and tortoises found ? May 4, 2006
Malaysian authorities discovered 436 tortoises and more than 2000 monitor lizards that were reportedly being smuggled into southern Thailand.

Big-headed turtles seized on Vietnam-Cambodian border ? April 2006
Border guards arrested smugglers with 45 big-headed turtles along the Vietnam-Cambodian border suggesting that the species, not yet confirmed, occurs in northeastern Cambodia.

Indian star tortoises seized ? March 26, 2006
Indian authorities seized 482 star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) from luggage belonging to passengers that authorities believe planned to travel to Malaysia.

Module for use of McCord Chinese market film in training ? May 2006
Introducing a new training module used in awareness and enforcement training courses by the Asian Turtle Program.   The McCord film of Chinese turtle markets is used to examine attitudes amongst young Vietnamese students about the turtle trade and determine whether concern over treatment and welfare of animals might provide greater opportunities for public involvement in wildlife protection. 


Seed Grants Announced ? April 26, 2006
The TSA announced the recipients of its 2006 seed grants.  The five projects include raising in Sumatran (Indonesia) schools about turtles and their conservation needs, publication of a Khmer-language turtle calendar in Cambodia, and species-focused initiatives for Pelochelys cantorii and Heosemys leytensis in the Philippines, and Aspideretes nigricans in India.  

Useful Resources

Easy shell repair ?2005
Instructions by Harriet Forrester and John Satta of Turtle Rescue in New Jersey on repairing damage to the carapace of turtles.  Includes excellent photos detailing each step.

Updated Species List Vietnam
The list of species native to Vietnam has been updated to include two additional species, Cuora bourreti, and Cuora picturata), formerly subspecies of Cuora galbinifrons.  The new list also reflects the change in legal status for some species following the enactment of a new wildlife protection law, Decree 32 in March 2006. 

Contact Us:
Douglas Hendrie
Asian Turtle Program
PO Box 222
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tele. 844-775-3935

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ATCN Website Administrator
Asian Turtle Program

The Asian Turtle Conservation Network is supported by:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)
Conservation International (CI)
Education for Nature ? Vietnam (ENV)



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