Despite Arrests, Illegal Trade in Star Tortoises Continues Unabated

The Indian star tortoise is the most traded tortoise species in the world. Every year, thousands of them are confiscated mostly at airports. According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, close to 8,000 were seized over a ten-year period between 1990 and 1999. But this number shot up in the following decade. Officials stopped more than 36,000 from leaving the country between 2000 and 2013. An overwhelming majority of these – about 20,500 – were confiscated from Tamil Nadu.

All these star tortoises were most probably picked up from the wild as there’s no evidence of a captive breeding operation. So how big is the trade?
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Give turtles a home for Christmas, urges Nature Trust

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is aiming to raise $20,000 for a turtle sanctuary to house Wink and Atahualpa as well as other endangered Blanding’s Turtles.
The Nature Trust has secured an agreement to purchase a 36 acre property at Barren Meadow in southwest Nova Scotia. They are appealing for $10,000 in public support, which will be matched by $10,000 from the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and the Marguerite Hubbard Charitable Foundation.

“With so few Blanding’s Turtles left in Nova Scotia, their fate is truly in our hands. Saving their remaining habitat is critical to the survival not just of Wink and his friends, but to the survival of this entire species in Nova Scotia,” said the Nature Trust’s executive director Bonnie Sutherland.
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'Go, Go, Go': Harry releases turtles on Caribbean beach

Volunteers monitoring nests near Lovers Beach on Nevis had found the green sea turtle hatchlings in undergrowth.
The prince, who is on a tour of seven Caribbean island nations as the Queen's representative, was handed the creatures one by one.
He later helped excavate a nest which the babies had left.
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Protected turtles seized from Taiwanese vessel on route to China

Kaohsiung, Nov. 22 (CNA) A Kaohsiung-registered fishing boat was intercepted 30 nautical miles off Kaohsiung harbor on Tuesday and 1,149 protected turtles aboard the ship seized, coast guard officers reported.

The captain of the ship, identified by his surname Sun, together with one Taiwanese and two Indonesian crewmen were taken ashore for questioning by Coast Guard Administration officers.

They were later sent to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office to be interviewed over violations of the Wildlife Conservation Act and Smuggling Penalty Act.
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Glyptemys insculpta (American wood turtle)

6 Things You Might not Know About Iowa's Turtles

Whether they walk on land or paddle in the river, the 17 species of turtles we have in Iowa are much more complex than meets the eye - many tout extensive lifespans and specific habitat needs. See how much turtle trivia you know:

Hungry Dance
An endangered species living near woodland streams in northeast Iowa, the wood turtle gets its name from the patterns on its intricate brown shell, which looks like the growth rings of a tree. These turtles are omnivorous, with a large part of their diet consisting of plant material like berries and dandelions. However, they also eat insects, earthworms, mollusks and even carrion. To trick their food to come to them, wood turtles will stomp their feet repeatedly on soft soil to draw earthworms to the surface, which likely think the vibrations come from falling rain. As they emerge from the soil, the earthworms are promptly eaten by the clever hungry turtle.
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10 Signs That You’re Obsessed with Turtles

Those creatures that have a small head, four small legs and a shell on their back. Yes, there are people who are obsessed with those things.

1. Saying “Awww” when you see one turtle on top of another turtle’s shell
It reminds you of the time when you went piggy back riding on someone’s back or gave someone else a ride.
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Researchers will harness the public’s eyes to identify turtle road death hot spots.

Researchers release app to map turtle deaths on Sydney roads as breeding season begins

HUNDREDS of turtles are risking their shells crossing busy Sydney roads in search of places to nest, prompting a push from researchers to identify deadly hot spots.
As the breeding season begins and eastern longnecked turtles leave the safety of the Georges River, Western Sydney University has launched a web app to track their movements.
The university’s School of Science and Health has developed ­TurtleSAT to record sightings of turtles, dead or alive, on roads.
Lead researcher Dr Ricky Spencer said Australian turtles were on the brink of extinction, and hundreds died on Sydney highways, such as the M4 and M5, each year.
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Over 100,000 Sea Turtles Nest at the Same Time. How?

November 9, 2015 - Hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles all arrive together to lay their eggs near Ostional, Costa Rica—and we know little about how they coordinate that feat. Vanessa Bezy, a National Geographic young explorer grantee, is trying to find out more. To test the hypothesis that pheromones trigger the nesting behavior, she's giving a number of turtles that are swimming toward the nesting site a zinc sulfate solution that willtemporarily block their sense of smell, which will let her see whether they're less likely to come ashore. The solution, which wears off within five days, doesn't harm the turtles. The study, approved by the Costa Rican government and the University of North Carolina's biology department, should provide invaluable information to conservation groups hoping to protect these animals.
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Will America's Turtles Be Eaten Into Extinction?

Anyone wanting a gourmet meal in the early 1900s in the United States could always count on finding one special dish: turtle.

Whether served as soup or steak, turtle meat made an appearance everywhere from presidential dinners to the first transcontinental trains. It became so desirable that trappers began wiping out diamondback terrapins, alligator snapping turtles, and other species from U.S. wetlands to satiate demand. But by the 1920s the turtle craze began to fade, and populations began a slow rebound.
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Credit: Lida Xing

Ancient toothed turtles survived until 160m years ago

Today's turtles don't have teeth; they cut off their food using hard ridges on their jaws. But their ancestors were not so dentally challenged. A team of international researchers including Dr. Márton Rabi from the Biogeology Lab of the University of Tübingen has now discovered that turtles with remnants of teeth survived 30 million years later than previously thought. The researchers found evidence of this at a major excavation site in China's western Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. Up to now, the most recent finds of toothed turtles were 190 million years old. The new discovery also helps to fill in some of the puzzle pieces in the chelonian family tree and in the distribution of the family over many millions of years. The researchers have published their findings in the latest edition of BMC Evolutionary Biology.

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