Bulletin:  March 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.

News From the Front

New Calendar Focuses on Cambodian Turtles

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. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/ATCN_news/2006_articles/new_calendar_promotes_turtle_awareness_02_06.html

Tam Dao rangers learn about turtles and trade

In December, the Asian Turtle Program carried out a Turtle Identification, Ecology, and Trade workshop at Cuc Phuong National Park for wildlife protection officers from Tam Dao National Park in Vinh Phuc Province, focused on strengthening protection for Vietnam's turtles.  

Tam Dao is located just northwest of Hanoi and hosts popular tourist markets featuring wildlife, including turtles.  The two most common species in Tam Dao markets are Cuora mouhotii and Geoemyda spengleri, though turtles from other areas are frequently observed for sale.   Link:  https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/ATCN_news/Tam%20Dao%20rangers%20learn%20about%20turtles%20and%20trade%2012_05.html

The Asian Turtle Crisis ?Road-show? tours central Vietnam

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.   

Similar turtle-focused training workshop has been carried out for frontline wildlife protection officers from 30 of Vietnam?s 62 provinces. On February 17, the awareness version of the workshop was also hosted for approximately 90 students and professors from the science and forestry departments at Hue University https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/ATCN_news/2006_articles/asian_turtle_crisis_on_tour_02_06.html

New report documents trade of Roti Island snake-necked turtle

TRAFFIC has released a new report, ?The Trade of the Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle, Chelodina mccordi? by Chris Shepherd and Bonggi Ibarrondo.  The report provides an excellent overview of the status and trade of this critically endangered species, endemic Roti Island in Indonesia.


Batagur released after repatriation

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.


Surveys (Cambodia):  The BP-supported Cambodia Turtle Conservation Team completed surveys in the Koh Kong province in southwestern Cambodia, looking at coastal river systems.  Interviews suggested that Batagur baska was not present in the area, though three other species were confirmed during the surveys including Amyda cartilaginea, Siebenrockiella crasicollis, and Cyclemys sp.  For more information contact:  Sitha Som   

Females Return to Nest:  The Sre Ambel Batagur baska Conservation Project (Cambodia) reports the return of nesting females with 76 eggs deposited on nesting beaches so far.  With nestings reaching critically low levels, the Fisheries Department plans to develop holding facilities and establish an assurance population using offspring of the 2006 nesting season. 

For more information contact:  Kate McMahon  

Batagur baska juveniles seized from trade:  Slovakian Environmental Police raided a flat in the capital city and recovered four juvenile Batagur baska and other wildlife, according to a representative of the Slovakian State Nature Conservancy.  Subsequent information from the seizure suggested that the animals originated from a trader in Malaysia.  More information will become available upon conclusion of a police investigation currently underway.  Photos:  https://asianturtlenetwork.org/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.htm  

Kachuga trivittata eggs recovered

For the first time, eggs were recovered in December from a nesting site on the upper Chindwin where local villagers and Chindwin River Project team members were hoping to secure critical nesting beaches for the Burmese roofed terrapin, Kachuga trivittata.  Last year there were only five recorded nestings of the species, and turtle conservationists launched a project aimed at protecting critical habitat, reducing active threats to the species resulting from fishing practices, enhancing enforcement, and securing local involvement in protection efforts.  Hendrie noted that last year?s conservation efforts came too late, and all of the eggs were consumed by local people or sold to markets.  

For more information contact:  WCS Myanmar Turtle Program officer Khin Myo Myo  

Rafetus observations survey in Hoan Kiem Lake

Field biologist Nguyen Xuan Thuan of the Vietnam Turtle Program team completed a month-long interview and observation survey of Rafetus swinhoei in Hoan Kiem Lake.  The survey was intended to provide conservationists with more information about the seasonal and daily activity of the Hoan Kiem turtle which might assist current efforts to confirm the species presence in a series of lakes in Yen Bai Province.



In the Press

Authorities investigate Indian star tortoises smuggling ring linked to Malaysia

Recent arrests by Indian authorities have revealed that most of the illegally captured star tortoises in India were destined for Malaysia.

Link:  https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/news_archives_articles/2005/In_the_spotlight_over_illegal_12_05.html

European Zoos Generate Major Funds for Turtle Conservation

The Shellshock campaign ends with 250,000 Euros in the bank for turtles.

New Project Protects Protecting Batagur baska in Malaysia

KUSTEM University and Malaysian wildlife protection authorities are working to conserve what may be the most important remaining wild population of Batagur baska on the Dungun River in Terengganu State. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/news_articles/saving_terrapins_02_06.html

897 Kg of Turtle Plastrons Seized in Hong Kong

Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) officers seized a shipment of 897 kg of turtle plastrons from Indonesia.  Three species were identified in the shipment including Orlitia borneensis, Siebenrockiella crassicollis, and Cuora amboinensis. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/news_articles/customs_seize_turtle_plastrons_01_06.html


Of Interest

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. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/ATCN_news/2005_articles/Prasat_Raingsey_pagoda_10_05.html  

Web developments

Endemic Species in Sulawesi, Indonesia

A photographic documentation of preliminary field research carried out by Ian Ives, M.S. candidate researcher in Sulawesi, February 19-27, 2005.

On-line Field Guide

The online Field Guide includes the following additions this period:
Callagur borneoensis, Geomyda spengleri, Heosemys grandis, Mauremys annamensis, Mauremys mutica, Platysternon megacephalum, Sacalia quadriocellata, Siebenrockiella crassicollis. Special thanks to all of you that have contributed information and photographs to support this effort.
Link: https://asianturtlenetwork.org/field_guide/field_guide_intro.htm 

Chitra vandijki
A rare glimpse of a juvenile Chitra vandijki colelcted from the upper Chindwin River near Htamandhi by the WCS Chindwin River Project field team in April 2005. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.htm 


Useful Resources

Timed Search Methodology:  David Emmett of Conservation International?s Indo-Burma Program has completed a brief methodology for conducting timed-searches for terrestrial chelonians based upon his experience carrying out surveys in the Cardamom Mountains. https://asianturtlenetwork.org/library/useful_resources.htm  

Turtle Training for Wildlife Protection Officers:  The Asian Turtle Program?s training module for wildlife protection officers is now available online and may be used as a template for adapting and developing turtle training workshops in other parts of the region. 

The training course comprises of 11 sections including an introduction to the ecology of turtles, field identification skills development, an overview of the Asian Turtle Crisis, confiscation and handling guidelines, and other important information aimed at enhancing knowledge, skills, and interest amongst frontline wildlife protection officers.  Following the generic template is an expanded outline reflecting the course that is currently used in Vietnam. 

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