|Blog | Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)|
|Updated||Tue, 14 Aug 2018 13:37:26 +0000|
|Description||The Turtle Survival Alliance is a global partnership of individuals, zoos, aquariums, biologists and researchers who have joined together to help conserve threatened and endangered tortoise and turtle species.|
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|Faces of the TSA Vol. 16|
|Published:||Wed, 08 Aug 2018 12:51:26 +0000|
Who: Andrew Brinker
|Species Spotlight Vol. 16|
|Published:||Wed, 08 Aug 2018 12:37:42 +0000|
Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys sp.)
Greatest Threats: Poaching for consumption, to stock breeding farms, and for illegal commerical transport, fishing gear entanglement — especially trotlines, waterway channelization, alteration, riparian destruction, and damming
Our TSA-North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group is actively involved in studying this species in the bayous of Harris County, Texas. You can aid this group in their research and conservation efforts for this hidden, yet iconic riverine species, in one of the most populous counties in the United States by DONATING TODAY!
Photo Credit: Jim Olivemás ...
|China and Vietnam to Cooperate on Saving World's Rarest Turtle|
|Published:||Mon, 30 Jul 2018 17:13:13 +0000|
For Immediate Release
July 30, 2018
CHINA AND VIETNAM TO COOPERATE ON SAVING THE WORLD’S RAREST TURTLE
Charleston, South Carolina - The Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), one of the rarest animals on Earth, may have been given a reprieve from extinction this week with the announcement that Vietnam and China may work to cooperate in saving it. Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday informed the Hanoi administration of China's recent suggestion that both countries collaborate in attempting to breed the four known living animals.
The fourth living specimen, of unknown sex, was confirmed in Vietnam's Xuan Khanh Lake this past April. Two of the other three living animals, a female and an aging male, have been kept since 2008 in the Suzhou Zoo in China. Despite three internationally spearheaded artificial insemination attempts, all of the eggs laid by the female have been infertile. The other living specimen, sex also unknown, lives in Dong Mo Lake west of Hanoi.
Rafetus is Vietnam's most celebrated turtle. Nicknamed the "Sword Lake" turtle, legend has it that a magical sword used by Vietnam's ruler in the 15th century to defeat an invading Chinese army was returned to the Golden Turtle God in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake. The last Hoan Kiem Lake turtle, a large male possibly over 100 years old, died in January 2016.
"China and Vietnam are the two countries that hold the fate of this animal in their hands. That they are now willing to set aside centuries of cultural and geopolitical animosity to unite to save is inspiration for conservation everywhere," said Rick Hills, Executive Director of the Turtle Survival Alliance.
Despite its legendary status and impressive size – adults can weigh over 150kg (330 lbs) - Rafetus has not fared well. Once found throughout the Yangtze and Red River basins, it has been wiped out by habitat loss from dam construction and was hunted heavily for local food consumption in the latter decades of the 20th century.
At a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) earlier this year, China suggested the collaboration with Vietnam. Vietnam's Agriculture Ministry said in Monday's announcement that this is "a great and practical opportunity for breeding and protecting the species," calling on specialists from both sides to hold discussions. According Hoang Van Ha of the Asian Turtle Program, "if either of the individuals in Dong Mo or Xuan Khanh Lakes are male, they could be matched with the female in Suzhou Zoo in China."
Since 2003, the Asian Turtle Program has attempted to locate additional living animals by conducting surveys of locals in northern Vietnam, with limited success. The April sighting was confirmed in part via state-of-the-art environmental DNA (eDNA) testing of the Dong Mo Lake turtle, as refined by Dr. Caren Goldberg of Washington State University. Further eDNA testing to find additional wild animals is ongoing.
The hope is that all wild Rafetus may be brought together in a controlled environment for captive breeding. Several organizations and governmental support are behind these efforts. Vietnam's Biodiversity Conservation Agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Fisheries Department, and Forest Protection Department back the surveys. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Turtle Conservation Fund, Washington State University, the IUCN, and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, British Chelonia Group and private donors support the eDNA analysis. New York's Wildlife Conservation Society, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research in Berlin, San Diego Zoo Global, the Suzhou Zoo, Changsha Zoo, WCS-China, and the China Zoo Society are actively involved in the artificial insemination efforts.
TSA (Turtle Survival Alliance)
|Turtle Survival Alliance Hires New Executive Director|
|Published:||Wed, 11 Jul 2018 14:52:15 +0000|
For Immediate Release
July 11, 2018
Turtle Survival Alliance Hires New Executive Director
Charleston, South Carolina – Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is pleased to announce that Richard "Rick" M. Hills has been appointed as Executive Director, effective July 16, 2018. Rick will report to TSA's Board of Directors, and will have overall management responsibility for TSA and its global mission of "zero turtle extinctions".
Rick comes to TSA with a strong background as a business leader in California real estate development, an attorney, and an environmental advocate. He has had long-term involvement with the environmental and zoological communities in the United States, and has most recently been serving as Chair of Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global. His interest in, and commitment to, turtle conservation has been lifelong. Currently based in San Francisco, Rick will relocate to the Charleston, South Carolina area, home of TSA's principal office and its Turtle Survival Center, which houses assurance colonies for 30 of the world's most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles.
Rick commented: "The Turtle Survival Alliance's work is crucial to global wildlife conservation. We bring the purest science to care for our assurance colonies in South Carolina and to our international field operations in Africa (Madagascar), Asia, Central America, and South America. My goals are to help grow our work and to make people everywhere aware of what an incredible organization we are."
Patricia Koval, Chairman of the Board, TSA added: "We are delighted to have Rick join our dedicated team, including Rick Hudson (President), Andrew Walde (COO), and all of our wonderful colleagues in South Carolina and at our field programs worldwide. We look forward to Rick's passion, dynamism, and expertise to help us grow our ability to achieve the greatest possible results in tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation."
About Turtle Survival Alliance
Turtle Survival Alliance is a non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. Since its formation in 2001, TSA has become recognized as a global force for turtle conservation, capable of taking swift and decisive action on behalf of critically endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles. With its commitment to "zero turtle extinctions," TSA transforms passion for turtles into effective conservation action through: (1) restoring populations in the wild where possible; (2) securing endangered species in captivity through assurance colonies; and (3) building the capacity to restore, secure, and conserve species within their range countries. In addition to the Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina, TSA manages collaborative turtle conservation programs in 15 diversity hotspots around the world. For more information, visit: www.turtlesurvival.org; http://www.facebook.com/turtlesurvival; www.instagram.com/turtlesurvival; @turtlesurvival on Twitter.
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For more information, please contact Jordan Gray, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, at (912) 659-0978 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.orgás ...
|Breakout Year for Burmese Roofed Turtles|
|Published:||Wed, 11 Jul 2018 14:19:06 +0000|
Yangon, Myanmar—TSA-Myanmar Director Kalyar Platt announced that this year's hatching season for the critically endangered Burmese Roofed Turtle (Batagur trivittata) was record-breaking! At the recent conclusion of the hatching season, 223 of the grayish-green hatchlings had been produced between two of Myanmar's four conservation facilities for the species.
A hatchling Burmese Roofed Turtle still displaying its egg tooth is held at the Limpha Village field station along the Upper Chindwin River.
With an all-time high number of eggs under incubation this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)/TSA Limpha Village field station, located along the Upper Chindwin River, produced an all-time-high 68 hatchlings. Located on the river's banks, the Limpha Village field station is positioned to directly collect eggs deposited by wild females and translocate them to a protected on-site hatchery. In Mandalay, the Myanmar Forest Department's program at the Yadanabon Zoo manages the only successful captive breeding colony for the species. There, the eggs are collected after deposition for artificial incubation, hatching, and rearing. This program produced an incredible 155 hatchlings in 2018—the results largely attributable to the addition of a new sand nesting bank with better sun exposure. This year's 223 hatchlings will be reared at the respective facilities for 5 years before select individuals are identified for introduction to the wild.
Myint Tun inspects a recently hatched Burmese Roofed Turtle in the hatchery at the Yadanabon Zoo in Mandalay.
One of the most-endangered of the Batagur genus, the fate of the Burmese Roofed Turtle rests upon a comprehensive multi-pronged conservation approach—the foundation of which is these hatchlings. This multi-institutional and multi-national effort utilizes the handful of naturally-occurring individuals remaining in the Upper Chindwin River, field research, monitoring, and nest protection stations, captive assurance colonies, captive-breeding and head start programs, and strategic release attempts. Currently, there are three national and one international assurance, captive-breeding, and rearing colonies for the Burmese Roofed Turtle. These cornerstone facilities, located at the Yadanabon Zoo, Lawkanandar Wildlife Sanctuary, Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, and Singapore Zoo, now house well over 800 specimens of varying age-classes.
Dr. Tint Lwin takes morphmetrics of hatchling Burmese Roofed Turtles at the Limpha Village field station.
This effort is supported by the WCS, TSA, Yadanabon Zoo, Myanmar Forest Department, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Panaphil Foundation, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust, and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.más ...
|Historic Confiscation of Radiated Tortoises, Phase II: Transition to long-term care facility is complete|
|Published:||Tue, 10 Jul 2018 20:43:17 +0000|
A large juvenile Radiated Tortoise sits beside the commemorative stone placed at our Itampolo tortoise facility.
On a late June morning, 62 days after the nearly 10,000 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) were seized from wildlife traffickers in Toliara, Madagascar, a large green truck departed the SOPTOM-CRCC “Village des Tortues” in Ifaty. Contained within it, a precious and historically significant cargo: 1,724 small juvenile specimens of this critically endangered species. The shipment of this smallest size-class of tortoise would represent the final transfer of these beleaguered tortoises, generously held at the SOPTOM facility, to our TSA facility near Itampolo. It would also mark the end of our joint relief operation based in Ifaty and signify the transition of primary operations to Itampolo.
In the more than two months since Soary Randrianjafizanaka, Directeur Regional de l'Environment, de 'Ecologie et des Forets (DREEF Atsimo-Andrefana) first placed the tortoises at the Village des Tortues following the seizure, thousands of tortoises have been transferred in staged intervals to our Itampolo facility. Transported in contingents of 1,000 – 2,000 tortoises based on size and weight class, and given health screenings prior to departure, the tortoises will receive long-term care in Itampolo. These transfers have been charitably sponsored by WWF Madagascar and Deutsche Geselschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The final shipment of tortoises and supplies was provided by Deutsche Geselschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Tasked with the important assignment of transitioning the overall relief operation to Itampolo, including the continuation of medical treatments, animal care, and transportation health assessments, was the 5th wave of our joint relief effort. This contingent was composed of wildlife warriors representing the Shedd Aquarium, White Oak Conservation, University of Florida, University of Queensland, Turtle Survival Alliance, and private practice. The team packed and transported all of the remaining tortoises, medical and animal care supplies, and support equipment to our new facility in Itampolo.
Situated 137 km (85 mi) southeast of Ifaty, the Itampolo facility now houses over 8,900 of the original 10,196 tortoises discovered inside the single residential holding facility. Our new base of operations in the Mahafaly region, this facility recently underwent a major expansion (See the article in the next eNewsletter!) to improve operational capacity for this exceptional number of tortoises. This expansion includes sprawling forested enclosures built into native spiny-forest habitat, guard stations, medical clinic, food preparation area, and a water distribution system that is currently being installed with assistance from the seventh and final wave of volunteers. Here, the tortoises will get a second chance at a long life in Madagascar. They will be cared for by our Malagasy staff until they have passed a safe quarantine period and regained the fat reserves lost during their containment by the wildlife traffickers. It is our goal to reestablish this group of critically endangered tortoises to protected wild reserves through our comprehensive "Confiscation to Reintroduction Strategy."
Sadly, of the original 10,196 animals discovered within the traffickers' holding facility, 1,225 of these beautiful and iconic tortoises will never return to the wild—a tragedy guaranteed by their long and inhumane treatment by poachers. Within the residential holding facility, 308 animals were initially discovered dead by the DREEF, 721 perished during the critical first week post-seizure—despite the greatest attempts of the Malagasy contingent of veterinarians to save them, and 196 perished after the arrival of our joint response teams on April 22nd. Although the loss of 1,225 tortoises to the scourge of wildlife trafficking is significant, the more than 5,900 medical assessments and treatments performed by our veterinarians in Ifaty since April 11th provides evidence that thousands more would have died without intervention.
Continuing this unprecedented relief effort, "Team Radiata 6," representing the El Paso Zoo, Oregon Zoo, and Zoo Atlanta, and "Team Radiata 7," representing the Wildlife Conservation Society, North Carolina Zoo, and Great Plains Zoo, have been putting in long hours on the ground in Itampolo, both working on construction for the facility's expansion and providing medical and husbandry care for the thousands of tortoises. These efforts will, without a doubt, provide a better future for the tortoises in Madagascar.
Team Radiata 6: Jose Arnaud Miarison (TSA), Dr. Kate Leach (Zoo Atlanta), Dr. Mamy Andriamihajarivo (TSA), Kelli Harvison (Oregon Zoo), Luis Villanueva (El Paso Zoo)
Team Radiata 7: Boris (TSA contractor), Kate Archibald (North Carolina Zoo), Janelle Brandt (Great Plains Zoo), Katherine Hagen (North Carolina Zoo), Melissa Ortiz (WCS), Brittany Murphy (WCS), Bruce Moffit (North Carolina Zoo), Terria Clay (WCS)
We owe a debt of gratitude to the DREEF Atsimo-Andrefana, SOPTOM-CRCC, Malagasy Government, the U.S. Embassy, and all the zoological institutions, charitable organizations, NGO's, and private donors who have made the first chapter of this monumental relief effort possible. To continue supporting this historic relief effort and long-term care for the nearly 9,000 Radiated Tortoises now under our care in Itampolo, please consider DONATING TODAY.más ...
|Southern Vietnam Box Turtle Hatches at the TSC!|
|Published:||Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:14:17 +0000|
By Cris Hagen, Nathan Haislip, Clint Doak, Carol Alvarez, John Greene, and Jordan Gray
The year's first hatchling Southern Vietnam Box Turtle breaks through its eggshell in the TSC's incubator. Photo credit: Cris Hagen
On June 8, 2018 the first hatchling Southern Vietnam Box Turtle (Cuora picturata) of the year pipped its egg at our Turtle Survival Center. Deposited on February 26th, the egg incubated for 102 days at 25.5°C (78°F) before greeting our keepers with its beautifully mottled yellow, orange, and black head.
2018 has been a breakout year for Southern Vietnam Box Turtle reproduction at the TSC. Despite their relatively recent acquisition, with all of the adult specimens having arrived at the TSC in 2014, 2015, and 2017 respectively, the females have acclimated well to their new environment. This acclimation is actively demonstrated by this year's extraordinary egg production. Thus far, twenty eggs have been produced from all eight females in the collection. Eighteen of these eggs have been collected for incubation, while one clutch of two are still being carried by the parental female.
Not only has overall egg production for the assurance group of Southern Vietnam Box Turtles been high in 2018, but individual production has been equally as high. Each female in the collection, aside from one, has laid two clutches thus far, with the mother of this year's first hatchling having just produced her third. With a roughly 50% fertility rate, half of the eighteen eggs deposited are showing development. Of poignant note, this year's production is greater than that of the total production by all United States zoos participating in the studbook for the species. Furthermore, the TSC is the only non-zoological facility (U.S.) participating in the studbook that has produced the species, aside from private individuals.
With a laser-focus on our commitment to this species, we hope to hatch many more of this rare and beautiful species over the coming years. These hatchlings will help build the foundation for healthy, first-generation assurance colonies.más ...