IOSEA e-News for May 2015 (

Solomon Islands: Hawksbill turtles back in the fight

ocal conservationists on the coast of the Arnavon Islands observe a tagged hawksbill sea turtle laying eggs on the beach. CREDIT: Bridget BesawA story by Dr. Rick Hamilton, Senior Scientist for the Melanesia Program of The Nature Conservancy, reports on how the indigenous owners of the Arnavons rookery in Solomon Islands, for whom marine turtles are of high traditional significance, strive to protect them. The Arnavons are home to the South Pacific’s largest rookery for endangered hawksbill sea turtles — a population that very nearly went extinct. A recent PLOS ONE paper indicates these turtles are, finally, recovering after 150 years of excessive exploitation — the only example of such a recovery in the region. The Arnavon turtles are not out of the woods yet, but thanks to the efforts of the Arnavon communities they are back in the fight. More »

Australia, QLD: Patients in a half-shell

Green sea turtles are one of six species found in the Whitsundays. Photo / ThinkstockAn article from the ‘New Zealand Herald’ online newspaper reports how a small crew of volunteers work around the clock in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia, when an ill turtle comes their way. Henry and co-founder Christine McNamara set up Bowen Sea Turtle Assessment and Rehabilitation (Bstar) in 2013 after they noticed lots of dead turtles on the local beaches and decided to do something about it. Queensland is home to six of the seven species of sea turtle and the Whitsundays sees mostly the green and hawksbill varieties. All marine turtles are considered threatened, meaning the work of Bstar and the turtle hospital at Townsville aquarium, Reef HQ, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Bowen, is crucial to their survival. More »

Ocean myth busted: ‘Toddler’ turtles are very active swimmers

One of the 44 sea turtles tagged in this study was this green turtle yearling.It turns out sea turtles, even at a tender 6-18 months of age, are very active swimmers. An article from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries website reports that they don’t just passively drift in ocean currents as researchers once thought. NOAA and University of Central Florida researchers say it’s an important new clue in the sea turtle “lost years” mystery. Where exactly turtles travel in their first years of life, before returning to coastal areas as adults to forage and reproduce, has puzzled scientists for decades.  More »

Leatherback turtles use mysterious ‘compass sense’ to migrate

Large Pelagics Research Center scientists collaborate with commercial fishermen to find and tag leatherback turtles at sea. Captain Mark Leach checks out a 800-pound male leatherback turtle with a GPS-linked satellite tag on its back. Credit: Kara Dodge (NMFS Permit #1557-03), CC BY-NC-ND  Read more at: article published in The Conversation gives an account on new findings which highlight the importance of different compass senses during leatherback migration. Researchers used location data from satellite tags on 15 leatherback turtles in the northwest Atlantic to reconstruct their tracks and analyze their migratory orientation as they traveled south to the tropics. Interestingly, these turtles were observed to struck out for open ocean, swimming offshore into the subtropical gyre, instead of swimming along the coast where they could use landmarks and topographic features on the seafloor to orient themselves. It looked as if the turtles shared the same directional orientation despite being in different parts of the gyre at different times. These consistent headings suggest that leatherback turtles migrating within the gyre use a common compass sense. It remains a mystery just what that compass sense could be.  More »


This month we are proud to present our new interactive section of the IOSEA website dedicated to issues of illegal take and trade in marine turtles in the Indian Ocean South-East Asia region. This webtool includes the draft synthesis paper, which was presented by the Secretariat to IOSEA Signatory States at their meeting in 2014 in Bonn, Germany; a Factsheet; list of articles and online news; ideas on how to get involved in combatting trade; a list of ongoing initiatives run by organizations engaged in the fight against marine turtle trade; as well as a description of activities of the IOSEA Working Group on illegal turtle trade, currently being established.

It is encouraging to know that, since its release in March, the IOSEA/WWF Factsheet was promoted through the following networks:
— uploaded on the websites of key partner organizations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); and the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN);
— highlighted in a news article from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); spread among the CTURTLE Network; and soon to be published in the Marine Turtle Newsletter;
— uploaded on the website, Facebook page and Tweeter account of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and shared with all CMS Scientific Councillors;
— distributed and promised to be further shared with relevant partners of UNEP, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Interpol.

In addition to “raising the profile” of marine turtles within the debate on wildlife crime – which is currently concentrated on the illegal trade in terrestrial species and their derivatives – it is hoped that this broad coverage will prompt additional contributions to the draft synthesis paper ' Illegal Take and Trade of Marine Turtles in the IOSEA Region', mentioned above.

We welcome a new national Focal Point to the IOSEA family: Mr. Ali Mansoor Abbas Abdulla from the Kingdom of Bahrain. His full contact details can be found in the Membership section of the website.

In early April, the IOSEA Secretariat itself welcomed a full-time intern, Samantha Watts, who has just completed her Master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. In addition to having already populated the Bibliography Resource with about 90 new entries and supported the maintenance of the IOSEA website, she will mainly be assisting the Secretariat until the end of August with fundraising activities and the development of new project proposals.

Last but not least, we would like to acknowledge with great appreciation a voluntary contribution received in recent weeks from India.

MONTHLY ROUND-UP: What you may have missed in April
"Hover" for summaries & "Click" to view each story

India, Odisha: Olive Ridley hatchlings bid adieu to Odisha coast 30 Apr

India, Odisha: Male-dominated Olive Ridley population likely 28 Apr

Australia, QLD: Mesh protects loggerhead turtle eggs 28 Apr

Malaysia: Tar balls found at turtle breeding area 27 Apr

India, Tamil Nadu: 77 Ridleys returned to sea 26 Apr

India: Fishermen help protect sea turtles 25 Apr

India, Odisha: Ridleys increase breeding on Astaranga coast 25 Apr

Australia, QLD: The Great Barrier Reef is not dead 24 Apr

India, TN: Ridleys trapped in nets returned to sea 24 Apr

Philippines: Cleanergy Park launched 24 Apr

India: High tides destroying Olive Ridley turtles’ nests 24 Apr

India, Chennai: Olive Ridleys healed, sent back to sea 24 Apr

Japan: Sea turtle appears during the Unjami festival 23 Apr

India: Ridley eggs washed away by high tide 22 Apr

Australia, QLD: Loggerhead turtle released back into wild 22 Apr

India: Fishermen in Ganjam protect Olive Ridley eggs 22 Apr

Taiwan: Fisherman catches unusual ‘hunchback’ turtle 18 Apr

Invention leads to cleaner beaches 17 Apr

India: Baby steps towards the sea 17 Apr

Indonesia: Green turtles traded, eaten in Sumba 16 Apr

India: Conservation of Olive Ridleys rests on everyone 16 Apr

India: ‘Save turtle breeding sites’ 16 Apr

India: Olive Ridley hatchlings enter sea at Vizag 16 Apr

Australian turtle tracking aids conservation 16 Apr

Australia: Quick tips empower turtle rescue volunteers 15 Apr

Malaysia: Documentary on sea turtle conservation in Sarawak 14 Apr

India: Saving the shoreline of Puducherry 13 Apr

India, Odisha: Homecoming of a million turtles 12 Apr

Researchers solve young sea turtles’ “Lost Years” mystery 12 Apr

Satellite tracking reveals habits of young sea turtles 11 Apr

India: Conservation measures for Olive Ridleys 10 Apr

India, Andhra Pradesh: Bottlenecks in Ridley conservation 10 Apr

India, Chennai: More Olive Ridleys this year 8 Apr

Thailand: 60 young turtles released on Phuket beach 8 Apr

Taiwan: 7 sea turtles released into sea in Penghu 8 Apr

UAE: Endangered hawksbill turtles at Dubai Aquarium 8 Apr

Solomon Islands: Hawksbill turtle numbers up 200% 8 Apr

UK trust funds Solomons Hawksbill Turtle conservation 7 Apr

Fiji: Ban on catching turtles 4 Apr

Study: Olive Ridley migration zone limited to Bay of Bengale 4 Apr

India: Turtle eggs brought to Rushikulya rookery 4 Apr

India: TN should emulate Odisha to safeguard Olive Ridleys 2 Apr

India: Stakeholders’ meeting and turtle saving nets 2 Apr

Malaysia: Anti-poaching task force to save marine turtles 2 Apr

India: ‘Operation Olivia’ to save turtles 2 Apr

Malaysia: Green turtle found dead 2 Apr

Study: ‘Ghost nets’ harming and killing marine species 2 Apr

Marine turtle poaching is an Asean problem 1 Apr

Australia, QLD: Turtles need better protection 1 Apr


for May 2015


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