rhamphotheca:

TSA Turtle Tuesday:  Asian Mountain Tortoise

Did you know the Asian mountain tortoise (Manouria emys) is one of the only turtle species that provides maternal protection for its eggs?

After making a nest on the surface of the ground, the female will cover the eggs with vegetation and stand guard! If a potential threat approaches, she will push and bite to ward off the predator. If this doesn’t work, the protective tortoise will place herself over the eggs and hunker down! Both surface nests and nest protection are unique characteristics among chelonians.

You can read more about this critically endangered species and our ongoing conservation efforts on our website…

Turtle Survival Alliance

Tell China to Stop Massacring Turtles in Foreign Waters!

Tell China to Stop Massacring Turtles in Foreign Waters!

Tell China to Stop Massacring Turtles in Foreign Waters!

Tell China to Stop Massacring Turtles in Foreign Waters!

care2actionteam:

In Kalimantan, Indonesia, one of the world’s premier Turtle nestling habitats, the age-old creatures, my favorite animal, were making a comeback. Years of diligent work by local and international NGOs in cooperation with fisherman and Government were having an impact.

The Turtles were coming back! 

Then, suddenly, their numbers began falling again. And activists couldn’t figure out why. They were doing everything right – using new technology to ensure fish nets don’t accidentally capture Turtles, community monitoring of hatch sites, strict control of trade. 

Now, we know why.

Taiwan coastguards seized more than 2,500 protected turtles bound for dinner plates in China, officials said Sunday, calling it the biggest smuggling case of its kind they had ever seen.

Coastguards discovered the 2,626 rare turtles — 1,180 Asian yellow pond turtles and 1,446 yellow-lined box turtles — in a container on board a vessel in Kaohsiung, a port in the south of Taiwan, on Saturday.

These Turtles are being stolen from the waters of nearby Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, all countries with stunning biodiversity. That is why Kalimantan was seeing such a drop in Turtle counts, despite years of hard work to protect Turtles.

This can’t go on. Sign this petition and call on the Chinese Government to enforce global laws on its fishermen, so that they cannot cross into international waters and hunt Turtles. Hundreds are already calling, but we need more. Way More. To ensure that China feels global pressure and listens.

Otherwise, its only a matter of time before another illegal boat is found with hundreds of endangered Turtles.

rhamphotheca:

World’s Largest Freshwater Turtle Nearly Extinct

The last known pair of Yangtze giant softshell turtles mated again in June.

by Katilin Solomine

The fate of a species is resting on the shells of two turtles at China’s Suzhou Zoo.

In June, researchers collected eggs from the last mating pair of the critically endangered Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in the hopes that at least one will be fertile.

The 220-pound (100-kilogram) freshwater giant, which spends most of its life burrowing in mud, was once common in its namesake Yangtze River, China’s Lake Taihu and Yunnan Province, and parts of Vietnam.

By the late 1990s, however, human encroachment and poaching for use of the shells in Chinese traditional medicine rapidly depleted the population. Now, a total of four animals are known—two wild males in Vietnam and the mating pair at Suzhou Zoo.

It’s the team’s sixth year of breeding the turtles at the zoo, which is not far from Shanghai. So far, none of the eggs have hatched…

(read more: National Geo)

Photograph from Vietnam News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

rhamphotheca:

World’s Largest Freshwater Turtle Nearly Extinct

The last known pair of Yangtze giant softshell turtles mated again in June.

by Katilin Solomine

The fate of a species is resting on the shells of two turtles at China’s Suzhou Zoo.

In June, researchers collected eggs from the last mating pair of the critically endangered Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in the hopes that at least one will be fertile.

The 220-pound (100-kilogram) freshwater giant, which spends most of its life burrowing in mud, was once common in its namesake Yangtze River, China’s Lake Taihu and Yunnan Province, and parts of Vietnam.

By the late 1990s, however, human encroachment and poaching for use of the shells in Chinese traditional medicine rapidly depleted the population. Now, a total of four animals are known—two wild males in Vietnam and the mating pair at Suzhou Zoo.

It’s the team’s sixth year of breeding the turtles at the zoo, which is not far from Shanghai. So far, none of the eggs have hatched…

(read more: National Geo)

Photograph from Vietnam News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

rhamphotheca:

Observations on the feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1853) in the wild in Cambodia and Vietnam [2012]

Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains of Cambodia During the study in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, three of the ten tagged tortoises were observed several times to feed on live Quantula striata, a land snail species deciduous forests in Indochina and peninsular Malaysia. Another individual was observed once feeding on a heavily decomposed skull of Viverra cf. zibetha (Fig. 4).  

Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam The scat from Cat Tien consisted of the remains of two Ricefield Crabs Somanniathelphusa spp. At the beginning of the wet season these crabs are abundant around the seasonal ponds and on the forest floor (Ng, 1988). It is unknown if the tortoises consume these crabs for their proteins or also as a source of calcium. From the remains of the crab it was also impossible to ascertain whether the crab in fact was captured or, most probable, merely the carcass was consumed.  

Thus, our observations suggest that food items consumed by I. elongata vary according to their seasonal availability.

reference: 

Flora Ihlow, Peter Geissler, Sothanin Sovath, Markus Handschuh and Wolfgang Böhme. 2012. Observations on the feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1853) in the wild in Cambodia and Vietnam. Herpetology Notes. 5. 5-7. 

http://www.herpetologynotes.seh-herpetology.org/Volume5_PDFs/Ihlow_et_al_Herpetology_Notes_Volume5_pages005-007.pdf

(via: NovaTaxa)

rhamphotheca:

Observations on the feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1853) in the wild in Cambodia and Vietnam [2012]

Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains of Cambodia During the study in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, three of the ten tagged tortoises were observed several times to feed on live Quantula striata, a land snail species deciduous forests in Indochina and peninsular Malaysia. Another individual was observed once feeding on a heavily decomposed skull of Viverra cf. zibetha (Fig. 4).  

Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam The scat from Cat Tien consisted of the remains of two Ricefield Crabs Somanniathelphusa spp. At the beginning of the wet season these crabs are abundant around the seasonal ponds and on the forest floor (Ng, 1988). It is unknown if the tortoises consume these crabs for their proteins or also as a source of calcium. From the remains of the crab it was also impossible to ascertain whether the crab in fact was captured or, most probable, merely the carcass was consumed.  

Thus, our observations suggest that food items consumed by I. elongata vary according to their seasonal availability.

reference: 

Flora Ihlow, Peter Geissler, Sothanin Sovath, Markus Handschuh and Wolfgang Böhme. 2012. Observations on the feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1853) in the wild in Cambodia and Vietnam. Herpetology Notes. 5. 5-7. 

http://www.herpetologynotes.seh-herpetology.org/Volume5_PDFs/Ihlow_et_al_Herpetology_Notes_Volume5_pages005-007.pdf

(via: NovaTaxa)

rhamphotheca:

Saving Turtles from Extinction – Escaping the Fate of Lonesome George

by Jim Breheny, WCS

For decades, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists like the late John Behler and Brian Horne have crisscrossed the globe to study rare turtles and tortoises and prevent their demise. Dr. Horne, like other experts in the field, believes that the international trade of wild-caught turtles is the main factor in driving more than half of the 330 species of turtles close to extinction. On a percentage basis, turtles as a group are now more at risk of extinction than birds, mammals, or amphibians.

Far too often, we find a greater number and diversity of turtles in markets (typically stacked in crowded crates, sitting in their own filth in seedy shops and back alleyways) than we do in the wild. The rise of Internet commerce as a major market for the illicit sale of protected turtle species and the rapidly emerging economies of South and Southeast Asia are endangering the world’s turtles at an unprecedented rate…

(read more: National Geo)   

(images: T – Golden Coin Turtle  – East Asia – Critically Endangered – by Julie Larsen Maher; BL – Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle – South Asia – Critically Endangered – Brian D. Horn; BM – Burmese Star Tortoise – Myanmar – Critically Endangered –  by Brian D. Horne; BR – Roti Island Snake-Necked Turtle – Indonesia – Critically Endangered – Julie Larsen Maher)