Turtle smuggling discovered in China

This video says about itself:

12 February 2012

A total of 79 illegal alien live turtles were intercepted by inspection and quarantine authorities Saturday at an airport in Shanghai, east China.

From Xinhua news agency in China today:

Thousands of smuggled turtles seized in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Jan. 31 — Shanghai customs said Sunday they seized more than 2,000 endangered turtles last November in what could be the city’s largest turtle smuggling case.

Customs officials said they discovered large numbers of live turtles hidden in six containers of crabs imported from Indonesia on Nov. 19. The containers were claimed by a Shanghai company.

Most of the turtles were endangered species including Amboina box turtle, pig-nosed turtle and spotted pond turtle.

The turtles are now in the care of local zoos, officials said.

The customs did not give more details, saying the investigation was still underway.

Environmentalists have warned China’s rising market for rare and exotic pets, such as turtles and snakes, has fueled smuggling.

Vietnamese mourn rare turtle’s death

This video from Vietnam is called Turtle of Hoàn Kiếm lakeHanoi. Seen the 30th December 2010.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Cu Rua: Vietnam mourns revered Hanoi turtle

By Nga Pham BBC News, Bangkok

Vietnam is mourning an ancient turtle revered as a symbol of auspiciousness, whose death has shocked the country.

Thought to be one of only four living Yangtze giant softshell turtles, it was found floating in the Hanoi lake where it lived. Cause of death is unclear. …

The reptile – known as Cu Rua (great-grandfather) – will now be embalmed.

“Cu” is the Vietnamese word used to refer to old and revered people, giving some indication of the special place he occupied in the hearts of Hanoi’s inhabitants.

And not only Hanoians – people from all over the country also used to come to Hoan Kiem lake in Vietnam’s capital to try to catch a glimpse of him. Some even waited for days.

Social media in Vietnam has been flooded with posts lamenting his death, which came on a gloomy windy and wintry Tuesday afternoon.

Facebook user Nguyen Viet Nam said: “The turtle was a sacred animal for us Hanoians. Such sadness, such regret.” …

Douglas Hendrie, a Hanoi-based wildlife expert, says Cu Rua was one of only four known living specimens of his kind in the world.

“But more than that, the turtle also had a significant historical, cultural and spiritual value for the Vietnamese,” he adds.

Legend has it that the turtle – believed to be more than 100 and the oldest in Vietnam – was the incarnation of a mythical creature living in the lake in the 15th century.

Local legend has it that Le Loi, a real figure from Vietnamese history who would become emperor of Vietnam, borrowed a magical sword from the Dragon King to fight against Vietnam’s then Chinese oppressors.

After claiming independence for the Viets, he came to the lake and returned the sword to its divine owner via its disciple – a giant turtle which surfaced to take it from his hands before disappearing beneath the jade waters.

The lake duly became known as Hoan Kiem, or the Lake of the Returned Sword.

Scientists are not yet sure what killed Cu Rua – pollution, climate change or simple old age – but his body is being examined by experts. The authorities have already announced that it will be preserved.

BP oil hurts sea turtles world wide

This video says about itself:

25 September 2012

An educational video by SEE Turtles about sea turtle migrations including leatherbacks and loggerheads.

From Live Science:

Turtles’ Wayward Travels May Mean BP Oil Spill‘s Impact Was Global

by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor

December 28, 2015 09:05am ET

The far-flung journeys of juvenile sea turtles could mean that the impact of 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill was global.

More than 300,000 sea turtles were likely in the region of the Gulf of Mexico affected by the oil spill, according to a new computer simulation. About three-quarters of these marine animals probably came from Mexican nesting populations, the research found. Others hailed from South America, Costa Rica and as far away as western Africa.

As a result, efforts to rehabilitate the environment after the spill should likely reach far beyond the Gulf Coast of the United States, said study researcher Nathan Putman, a biologist at the University of Miami. [See Images of the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill]

A serious spill

On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which was operating on a BP-owned well in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil gushed from the well bore at the bottom of the gulf until July 15.

Research in the gulf has found possible long-term impacts on wildlife, including a high mortality rate and a low number of bottlenose dolphin calves in the region. But it was difficult to measure the wildlife impacts, Putman told Live Science, because of the challenge of determining how many animals were passing through at the time of the spill.

Oil can affect sea turtles by coating them with irritating petrochemicals, which can cause inflammation and even organ damage. Oil can also indirectly impact turtles by affecting animals lower in the food chain, making it harder for turtles to find food. Finally, oil slicks can kill the seaweed that tiny baby turtles use to camouflage themselves from predators. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, five times as many sea turtles strandings as usual occurred after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Still, strandings only hint at impacts that might be occurring far from shore, away from easy observation by humans.

“It was largely thought or accepted that there is no real good way to bracket the scope of the potential problem,” Putman said.

He and his colleagues tackled the issue with a simple computer simulation based on ocean currents. They virtually “released” particles, representing turtles, into the Deepwater Horizon-affected region and then backtracked through five years of ocean-current data to see where the turtles would have come from. Depending on species, juvenile turtles spend between two and 10 years or so living in the open ocean, traveling largely with ocean currents. The researchers also took into account potential mortality rates among these traveling turtles.

Turtle impacts

The resulting simulation estimated that there were 175,064 green turtles (Chelonia mydas), 21,363 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) and 3,693 Kemp’s ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) in the spill-affected area between April 2010 and August 2010. Serendipitously, Putman said, another research group has since released findings based on in-water estimates of turtles in that area in the years after the spill. The in-water estimates pegged the number of green turtles in the area at 154,000 and the number of loggerheads at 30,800, very close to the simulation’s estimates. [Quest for Survival: Photos of Incredible Animal Migrations]

The real-world estimates, however, suggested there are typically around 217,000 Kemp’s ridley turtles in that area, a big difference from the simulation’s prediction of 3,693. Putman and his team adjusted their model to reflect the notion that Kemp’s ridley turtles might swim against prevailing currents to get to and stay in the area of the gulf affected by the spill. A few simple tweaks brought the model and the real-world estimates in line.

What real-world estimates can’t do is reveal where the turtles came from. That’s where Putman’s model comes in handy. The ocean-current data suggest that turtles in that area in the summer of 2010 likely came from Mexico: Between 43 and 63 percent of greens, 60 and 66 percent of loggerheads, and more than 99 percent of Kemp’s ridleys were from Mexico populations, the researchers report today (Dec. 22) in the journal Biology Letters.

A third of the green turtles in the area likely hailed from Costa Rica, and as many as 16 percent may have come from Suriname in South America, the researchers found. About a third of the loggerheads probably came from the United States. Up to 4 percent of green turtles in the region may have come all the way from Guinea Bissau in West Africa.

To describe these different populations, Putman used the analogy of a bank account. If a bank loses $100,000, he said, it’s important to know which accounts the money was withdrawn from. “It doesn’t matter just that $100,000 got lost,” he said.

There are limitations to the study, the researchers wrote, particularly in that sea turtles don’t have to go with the flow when migrating. But scientists don’t know the extent to which such deliberate swimming affects sea turtles’ routes.

Despite uncertainties, the new simulations could help to inform policy, Putman said. Fishermen, for example, might need to lower their acceptable rate of accidental bycatch of turtles if the impacts of the spill turn out to be great. And the results show that efforts to monitor and repair turtle habitats should reach beyond the gulf, Putman said.

“Turtles aren’t the only dispersive and migratory taxa,” Putman said. “Hopefully, this will push people to consider other animals that might be transient through the gulf.”

Singing for sea turtle conservation

This 2012 video is about Dutch singer Ellen ten Damme, singing a song for sea turtle conservation on the Leidseplein square in Amsterdam.

Today, she sang again for sea turtles in Utrecht city, as the start of a tour.

Young turtle rescued from cold sea

This video is called Hawaii Green Sea Turtle Eating.

From The Southampton Press, in New York state in the USA:

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtle Rescued From Peconic Bay

Updated Nov 29, 2015 7:37 AM

By Greg Wehner

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation treated the first cold-stunned juvenile green sea turtle of the season on Thanksgiving after it was rescued from Peconic Bay in Southampton.

According to a press release, the 1-foot-long, 4-pound rescued sea turtle had a heart rate of nearly seven beats per minute when it was rescued, compared to a healthy 25 to 35 beats per minute. The turtle’s body temperature was also below the normal temperature of 77 degrees; with treatment, it had increased to 64 degrees.

The season when cold stunning becomes an issue for turtles begins when the regional waters dip below 50 degrees. In a press release, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said turtles experiencing cold stunning may stop eating and swimming, making it difficult for them to get to warmer areas.

Foundation officials said walking the beaches after high tide as the tide begins to recede is when many turtles may be spotted. The foundation asks the public to call its 24-hour hotline, (631) 369-9829, immediately if a sea turtle is sighted, so they may assist it.