California Turtle & Tortoise Club Founded in 1964 1964 ^^S Dedicated to Turtle & Tortoise Preservation, Conservation and Education
Ringed Map Turtle,
May I June2013 Tune 2013 May) Volume 49, Number 3
oculifera (Baur, 1890)
Hie Ringed Sawback Turtle 6y/w f\d in distribution to the Pearl I and Bogue Chitto Rivers in south^L^^/eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi, the ringed sawback turde is a rare species by any measure. The small, distinctively marked Graptemys oculifera is a member of the Emydidae family of basking turdes. The genus name is derived from the Greek graptos, meaning "inscribed," and the Greek emys, meaning "tortoise." The species name is derived from two Latin root words: oculi, meaning "eye55 and firo, meaning "bearing " The species name refers to the ocelli, the eye-like patterns on the scutes of the species' carapace.
The Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizit) are die two most studied species of chelonian. In contrast, the ringed sawback turde is largely unknown. According to a paper by Jeffrey E. Lovich and Joshua R. Ennen, "several species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (e.g., Pseudemys alabamensis, Sternotherus depressus, and Graptemys oculifer^) remain poorly studied with the estimated number of citations [in the scientific Ikerature-ed.note] for each ranging from only 13-24. The low number of citations for these species could best be explained by
their restricted distribution and/or their smaller size." The U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 listed G. oculifera as threatened in 1986. The species is listed as threatened by the state of Louisiana and endangered by the state of Mississippi. In 2011, the International Union of Conservation classified the ringed map turtle as 'vulnerable5 on its Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed by CITES under Appendix III for the USA, covering all Graptemys species. A recovery plan has been written by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the ringed map turtle, but critical habitat has yet to be designated.
2: Ie of Contents Turtle of the Month: Ringed Map Turtle (Graptemys oculiferd)
1 The Ringed Sawback Turtle by M.A.Cohen
2 Table of Contents 4 2013 Desert Tortoise Council Symposium Summaries: Day 1 7 Mike's Turtle Net Picks by Michael J.Connor
+ Meetings and Programs 8 U.S. Leads Efforts to Protect Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises at CITES - USFWS press release 9 739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles â€” Center for Biological Diversity press release
10 Classified Advertisements 11 CTTC Directory
California Turtle &: Tortoise Club: a Society Dedicated to Turde & Tortoise Preservation, Conservation and Education Since 1964. Promoting and Facilitating the Care, Rescue and Adoption of Native and Nonnative Turdes and Tortoises. The Tortuga Gazette (ISSN 1073-1334) is owned by the California Turde & Tortoise Club Executive Board, which is incorporated in the State of California as a Not-for-Profit Corporation and is tax-exempt under IRS code 501 (c)(3). All material is copyright ÂŠ CTTC unless otherwise attributed. CTTC policy permits reproduction of articles by other not-for-profit groups and educational institutions when permission is requested. Permission is granted on a case-by-case basis and CTTC must be cited as the source of the material. Views expressed in the Tortuga Gazette are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Editor or the California Turde & Tortoise Club.
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The genus Graptemys is composed of 12 species and several subspecies that are native to North America. The species within the genus are differentiated from one another on the basis of shell and skin pigmentation, head size, and shell structure. All species are riverine, meaning they are found in riparian ecosystems, the wetlands adjacent to rivers Close-up of an ocellus on the rear vertebral scute and the semicircular markings on the and streams. marginal scutes of the carapace of a ringed map turtle. Photo ÂŠ Bill Hughes. Source: Recent DNA research ARKive. Used with permission, confirms the placement of are marked with a yellow stripe or semithe ringed map turtle in circle. The rear marginal scutes of the the sawback group of map turtles, in turtles carapace are slightly to moderwhich the turtles' vertebral keel feaately serrated. tures pronounced knobs or spines This The plastron of the species is typically group includes the ringed map turtle orange or yellow; the juvenile's plastron (G. oculifera), the yellow-blotched map may have some olive-brown patterning turtle (G. flavimaculata), and the blackalong the plastral seams that usually knobbed map turtle (G. nigrinoda) fades as the turtle matures. The narrow When the species was listed as a Fedhead, legs and tail of the species are dark erally Threatened species in 1986, it was brown to black with yellow striping. commonly known as the ringed sawback turtie. (Jurre^ it is commonly" pearance of the sexes, known as sexual known as the ringed map turtle. dimorphism, is pronounced in ringed map turtles. Males have longer, thicker Identification tails, and much longer foreclaws than Graptemys oculifera is one of the those of the females. Female ringed smallest members of the map turtle map turtles are considerably larger genus. At maturity, females reach 3.9 overall than the males. The females' to 8.7 inches (10 to 22 centimeters) in average carapace length is 6.1 inches carapace length while males grow to 2.5 (15.6 centimeters) while the males' to 4.3 inches (6.5 to 11 centimeters). average carapace length is 3.5 inches The moderately-domed carapace of (8.9 centimeters). the species features prominent spinelike, black-tipped projections on the Habitat vertebral (medial) scutes of the carapace. G. oculifera favors wide rivers with These projections are most noticeable clay, gravel or sand bottoms, strong in juveniles and adult males, giving the currents, and white sand beaches. This species one of its common names, "sawspecies requires plentiful basking spots back." Projections on the carapace of the such as fallen logs, snags, brush and adult female tend to be more rounded debris on which it can bask in relative and less noticeable than those of juvesafety from predators. Suitable nesting niles and adult males. sites, high sandbars near the water, are The background color of the ringed also required. map turtles carapace is light olive to The ringed map turtle basks for most dark green. Its pleura! (side) scutes are of the day. It is shy and vigilant, and marked with yellow or orange ocelli, the will dive into the water at any perceived eye-like patterns referenced in the spethreat. At night it rests on submerged cies name oculifera. Its marginal scutes brush, logs and other suitable structures. Volume 49, Numbers
G. oculifera basks communally with other chelonlans such as cooters, mud turtles, slider turtles, softshell turtles, and other species of map turtle in areas where their ranges overlap. Range As mentioned previously, the ringed sawback turtle inhabits a relatively small range in the Pearl River watershed in western Mississippi. This watershed includes the Bogue Chitto River in southeastern Louisiana, which is the Pearl River's largest tributary. A portion of the Pearl River forms the boundary between the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. The ringed map turtle has not been found in the "tiddly-influenced lowermost section of the western Pearl River" (Ernst et al. 1994).
Food Preferences Analysis of the stomach contents of ringed map turtles reveals that the species is omivorous, yet primarily insectivorous. Various researchers report finding caddisflies and their larvae, damselflies, mayflies and their nymphs, aquatic beetles and tHeir^" larvae, and dragonfly nymphs among the stomach contents. Small amounts of algae and other plant materials were also present in these studies. Earthworms, mollusks and snails are also consumed in small quantities. Female ringed map turtles have been observed consuming fish carrion.
Reproduction G. oculifera appears to have a low annual reproductive potential, according to studies conducted by Dr. Robert Jones of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science over more than 20 years of study. Male ringed map turtles are thought to reach breeding age between 2.5 years and 4.5 years; females are thought to mature much later in life, between 10 and 16 years. Females typically nest once a year, occasionally twice, and rarely three times per year. They may skip nesting altogether in some years. No description of the courtship and mating ritual of the ringed map turtle is available, but actual mating was observed in late April as reported by Dr. Jones. May\June 2013
Nesting occurs during daylight on sand banks from May to July. Biologists estimate that as many as 86% of nests are destroyed by predators (see the 'predator section of this article). Clutch size can range-from 1 to 10 eggs, with 3 to 4 eggs being most common. Incubation, the period between egg deposition and pipping of the eggs, averages 64 days in the wild. Hatchling turtles remain in their nest for about 12 days before emerging, so the interval between egg deposition and hatchling emergence is an average of 76 days (Jones and Selman 2009).
Longevity Little is known about the longevity of wild ringed sawback turtles. Biologists conducting mark-and-recapture studies have provided valuable lifespan information from their study plots. Some of the turtles marked in studies from 1988 to 1990 were adults at the time of their initial marking. They have been recaptured and evaluated as recently as 2009. Based on the estimates of ,nial^an,d.feniale.maturity- (see the. 'reproduction' section), those male turtles would be 23.5 to 25-5 years old and the females, 31 to 37 years old (Jones and Selman 2009).
Threats According to a 1988 U.S. Fish & Wildlife report, the population declines of G. oculifera can be directly linked to "habitat modification and water quality deterioration, reservoir construction, channelization, de-snagging for navigation, siltation, and the subsequent loss of invertebrate food sources" within its range (USFWS 2010). River channel erosion from sand and gravel mining operations contributes to the deterioration of the turtles' habitat by substantially changing the structure of rivers and streams. Watercourses become wider and shallower due to stream bank destabilization, resulting in a reduction of basking and nesting sites. Degradation of their habitat is primarily responsible for the decline of ringed sawback turtle populations within their range. Q
Graptemys oculifera. Photo ÂŠ Bill Hughes. Source: ARKive. Used with permission.
Predators The primary predators of ringed map turtle nests include raccoons (Procyon lotor), armadillos (Dasypus novemcincto), and fish crows (Corvus ossifragus). Invertebrate predators such as a native ant species (Solenopsis molest^ related to the imported fire ant and a sarcophagid fly larva (Tripanurga importune!) destroy some 24% of the eggs and hatchlings that survive nest attacks by mammalian and avian predators (Jones and Selman 2009). Human activities such as recreational shooting, boating, and camping, collection for commercial purposes, i.e., the pet trade, and incidental take such as trapping in hoop nets and catching on trotlines continue to imperil wild populations of G. oculifera even as legal protection has been implemented on the state and federal levels.
REFERENCES Ernst, C.H., J.E. Lovich and R.W. Barbour, 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.... Graptemys oculifera. ARKive. 2013. <http://www.arkive.org/ ringed-map-turtle/graptemys-oculifera/x Accessed 2 March, 2013. Graptemys ocullfera. IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Accessed on 12 March 2013. Jones, R.L. and Selman, W. 2009. Graptemys oculifera (Baur 1890) - ringed map turtle, ringed sawback. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.) Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp.033.1-033.8. Lovich, J.E. and J.R. Ennen. 2013. A quantitative analysis of the state of knowledge of turtles of the United States and Canada. Amphibia-Reptilia 34 (2013): 11-23. United States Fish & Wildlife Service. 2010. Ringed map turtle (Graptemys oculifera}: 5-year Review, Summary and Evaluation. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, Jackson, Mississippi.
2013 Desert Tortoise Council Symposium: Day I The following article provides summaries of the presentations introduced at the 2013 Desert Tortoise Council Symposium, which took place February 15 to 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. To view the authors' abstracts, as well as complete listings of all the authors for each paper, please visit the Desert Tortoise Council web site's Abstracts pages at the following URL: www.deserttortoise.org/symposium/2013_abstracts.pdf The keynote speaker opening the 2013 Symposium was geneticist Taylor Edwards, recipient of the Desert Tortoise Council's 2013 Robert C. Stebbins Award. Keynote: Desert Tortoise Conservation in an Era of Information Overload presented by Taylor Edwards, University of Arizona The desert tortoise is the second most highly studied turtle in the world â€” only the red-eared slider has been studied more species is lagging. A report from US Fish & "Wildlife indicates that the status of Qopherus agassizii is 'declining after a five-year study This may be due to information overload. Simple solutions = fewer problems; more complex regulations = more problems. We have most of the information we need for desert tortoise conservation already; ecological and evolutionary principles can be used where actual data is lacking. As Taylor Edwards said, "the process of science allows an infinite amount of questioning to which answers typically inspire new questions." Populations that are healthy can accommodate change in their environments. Healthy, stable, genetic diversity is critical for adaptation to uncontrollable circumstances such as climate change. The most important things we can do for conservation of the desert tortoise are as follows: (1) protect their habitat, (2) reduce the threats to their populations, and (3) enlist local support. 99% of conservation is a social issue.
Subsidized Predators: Ravens and Coyotes Foraging Patterns in Mojave Coyotes presented by Brian L Cypher, California State University Stanislaus The coyote is an adaptable, mobile predator with considerable ecological impact. At Fort Irwin in California, an ongoing study is gathering information on the foraging ecology of the coyote with regard to desert tortoise mortality. In this study, coyote scat is collected by season, and its contents are analyzed. Rabbits are the favorite food of the coyote, followed by kangaroo rats, pocket mice, ground squirrels, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and invertebrates. Anthropogenic (originating from human activity) materials, such as livestock, domestic cats and dogs, and rubbish are found in less than 5% of coyote scat. Tortoise remains comprise at most 5 - sca_t_ ally, more predation on tortoises occurs in the spring and less in the fall. When rabbits are abundant, the pressure is off desert tortoises. Predation of Adult Gopherus agassizii by Common Ravens in the Central Mojave Desert presented by A. Peter Woodman, Kiva Biological Consulting, Ridgecrest, CA This study occurred during a monitoring program in 2008 related to the expansion of the Fort Irwin National Training Center in San Bernardino County, CA. Common ravens overturn adult desert tortoises, and proceed to enter the tortoise's body cavity through the soft tissues adjacent to the tail or the head areas. Most raven attacks happened during spring and fall, when tortoises are most active. Some attacks happened in summer, or in winter, when tortoises emerged from their burrows to drink during rainfall. Researchers on this project found that mainly females were attacked by
ravens. Of the 52 desert tortoises fitted with transmitters upon translocation to this particular monitoring site, 21 (40.4%) females were attacked by ravens, 19 (36.5%) of which died from their wounds. Creating a Raven No-fly Zone presented by Tim Shields, biologist from Haines, Alaska and Pete Bitarfrom XADS Corp, Anderson, Indiana Ravens are effective predators of desert tortoises and the infrastructure that supports ravens (e.g., landfills and dumpsters) is in place and permanent.' The deck is stacked against desert tortoises by creating such subsidies for their predators. The Green Dazzler laser offers a means . of non-lethal raven control. It does not cause blindness. This technology was used during the Iraq War to prevent people from running the checkpoints on the roads. Many birds, ravens among them, see into the UV range of the light spec- "stick." Exposure to the laser beam causes an immediate blink response and flight to escape the perceived threat. The Green Dazzler could be used to protect desert tortoise head-starting facilities from raven predation. It could also be used on wind farms to keep raptors (e.g., eagles and hawks) from colliding with the blades of the wind turbines. The Green Dazzler laser has an effective range of 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers). It does not wash out (fade) with distance. The power system for a green laser installation could be a solar-powered lithium-ion battery that is motion-detector activated. Activation could be calibrated to the size of the targeted birds, so that smaller birds would not activate the laser, thus conserving power. Lethal management techniques invariably create controversy The Green Dazzler laser is a promising management tool that does not have the drawback of lethal consequences.
Volume 49, Numbers
:5 Recovery Actions: State and Federal Agencies
Desert Tortoise Research and Management at Joshua Tree National Park presented by Michael Vamstead, Joshua Tree National Park Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR), encompassing nearly 800.000 acres, became a designated wilderness under the Desert Protection Act of 1994. Park management participates actively in the Desert Managers Group, pro-
recovery of any ecosystem, the DMG is actively involved in educational and outdoor activities that promote awareness of the desert environment. The Desert Tortoise Information and Youth Education is one such program. State-approved "Tortoise Trunks" further the goal of community education by providing lessons plans for elementary schools that focus on the biology, natural history and ecology of the desert tortoise in age-appropriate lessons targeted at first- through sixth-grade students. Other programs in which the DMG is involved include tortoise exclusion fencing, transfer of desert tortoises at risk from construction, conservation easements, road restoration, and proposing mitigation fees on disturbed desert tortoise habitat lands.
Bureau of Land Management, California presented by Amy Fesnock, BLM State Office, Sacramento, CA Over the past year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has continued to focus on habitat restoration, signage routes, acquisition of private lands, and educational outreach. But, for the past three years, most of the time and effort of the BLM has been focused on solar and wind energy projects. The BLM has also participated in the development of the Desert Energy Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. Two new conservation policies have been approved. One relates to durability and establishes conservation requirements on public lands that meet California State laws. The other policy has to do with Gopherus agassizii, Agassiz's desert tortoise. Photo released into the public domain by its author, Fire Management in the retirement of grazing allotments U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Red Cliffs Desert Reserve as a-mMgation-tooL - . -.. in \Jtabrpresented~by Cameron Rognan' moting desert tortoise recovery with Habitat Conservation Plan biologist Recovery Progress at the Mo~ educational outreach, information ex"Washington County, Utah, located jave National Preserve presented by change, and other methods. The JOTR in the southwestern corner of the state, Debra Hughson, Mojave National Preserve program "Tortoise, Tortoise" involves is the site of the Red Cliffs Desert ReAt the Mojave National Preserve some 4,000 children annually in conserve, a National Conservation Area (MNP), work on restoring desert servation education. that is home to a dense population of tortoise habitat damaged by cattle tramJOTR provided funding for a study desert tortoises. pling; these areas are called piospheres. by Dr. Cameron Barrows to develop a Despite significant efforts to proRestoration on 10 acres of MNP piocomputer model for desert tortoise habtect desert tortoises and other sensitive sphere is ongoing. Native shrubs were itat in the Park. This model will be used species at Red Cliffs, results from line left untouched. The earth was "ripped" for the prediction of climate-change distance sampling reveal that there has to a depth of eight inches prior to rerelated variations in desert tortoise habbeen a 30% decline in the desert torseeding with native desert-tortoise itat in the Park. toise population from 1999 to 2011. forage plants such as Galleta grass Park staff is also monitoring desert Wildfire is a continuing threat to the (Pleuraphis [=Hilaria\ and Intortoise movement patterns near roads, wildlife at Red Cliffs, including the desdian rice grass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) restoring damaged habitat, and planert tortoise. Primary impacts of wildfire If rains fail to arrive, the plot will ning infrastructure projects such as on desert tortoises include tissue dambe irrigated. campground redesign and road reconage and death. Secondary impacts Other activities at MNP include struction. include loss of forage, plant cover and surveying 508 miles of powerlines for nutrition deficits. Desert Managers Group presented by raven nests, inspection and mainteMitigation measures for invasive Rebecca Jones, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife nance of game guzzlers, and collecting plant species in Red Cliffs include nonThe Desert Managers Group road-mortality data. herbicidal and mechanical methods (DMG) is composed of representatives Fifty-one parcels of donated land such as goat grazing, weed whackers from federal, state and county land were acquired by the MNP, bringing and green stripping. management agencies. Understanding the total of protected lands at the PreCheatgrass, Bromus tectorum, is an that public information is key to the serve to 3,234 acres. extraordinarily invasive non-native May | June 2013
6: grass that displaces desirable native species and fuels devastating wildfires. It has been successfully attacked with a fungus known commonly as "black fingers of death," and botanically as Pyrenophora semeniperda. U.S. Geological Survey Update presented by Susan Jones, USGS Western Ecological Research Center, Sacramento, CA
Matt Brooks is preparing the first Southern Nevada Agency Partnership. Research projects include studies of desert areas impacted by wildfire: reseeding studies, herbicide use and outplanting are being studied by botanist Lesley DePalco at several sites in southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. Ken Nussear, Todd Esque, and Lesley DeFalco are studying the desert tortoise's use of burned habitat in the eastern Mojave Desert. Kristin Berry has been conducting research on the desert tortoise for more than 37 years. The data sets she has developed are being digitized so the data can be more easily analyzed. QuadState Local Governments Authority presented by Gerald Hiflier, Executive Director, QuadState
QuadState represents 10 local governments situated in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts with regard to natural resource issues. QuadState is interacting with counties in the California Desert Managers Group as the counties participate in Recovery Implementation Teams. QuadState is also interacting with the Arizona Interagency Desert Tortoise Team, and the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative. In 2012 QuadState became part of the "Western Regional Partnership, an interagency group organized by the Department of Defense. A New Approach to Recovery of the Mojave Desert Tortoiseprmtfed by Catherine Darst, USFWS Desert Tortoise Recovery Office, Ventura, CA
Recovery of the desert tortoise is challenging because of several factors: threats to population decline are only partially understood; the effectiveness of management actions is not sufficiently Tortuga Gazette
documented; and the size of its range and the numerous jurisdictions involved are difficult to manage and coordinate. Policy needs to be changed. Huge sums of money have been spent on recovery efforts without quantifiable results. In part, this is due to short-sighted decisions. Other factors include the lack of a coordinated management plan across the various jurisdictional units involved in desert tortoise habitat. In 2012 the USFWS began a program to develop recovery implementation teams in preparation for a more coordinated approach to the recovery of conservation-dependent species such as the desert tortoise. Its recovery depends on the conservation of a functioning desert ecosystem.
How Do Turtles Communicate?
the Amazon River and its tributaries in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, etc. Researchers have found that these species make different sounds in different contexts in both water and air, and have a relatively large repertory of vocalizations. Some of their findings are as follows: • C. oblonga produces 17 different sounds in the course of its communication; P. expansa produces 11 different sounds. • These species produce low-frequency sounds (36 to 4,500 Hz) throughout their lives, from embryo through juvenile to adult, and in all behavioral categories. • Hatchlings begin to vocalize 36 hours before hatching; researchers speculate that synchronized emergence from their nest helps dilute the predation threat to the neonates.
presented by Camila Ferrara, Instituto National de Pesquisas da Amazonia, Manaus, Brazil
• Hatchling sounds are "sharper" than adult sounds.
Communication involves two or more
• During nesting, turdes emit
a receiver. Early studies of communicaof sounds facilitate locating the tion in turdes focused on olfactory, visual source of the sound. Researchers and tactile interactions. Recent studies speculate that these vocalizations of communication in turdes document help synchronize nesting among the remarkable extent to which acoustic groups of female turdes. communication occurs. Turdes are much • Discoveries of such acoustic commore social than was previously thought. munication among chelonians are* Turdes have the ability to hear evidence that they are much more sounds below 1,000 Hz in the water, at social animals than was previously the water's surface, and in the open air. imagined. Q Acoustic communication is important for information exchange at all stages of the turtle s life. Embryos in eggs and hatchlings produce sound, as do juveniles and adults. Aspects of acoustic communication have been studied in at least 44 chelonian species. The most extensive studies of the role and range of acoustic communications have been conducted with two species of side-neck turtles. The Narrow-breasted snake-neck turtle, Chelodina oblonga, is native to Western Australia; the Podocnemis expansa, the Giant South American turtle, photographed at the Instituto Giant South American turtle, Nadonalde Pesquisas da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil. Photo © 2008 by Whaldener Podocnemis expansa, is native to Endo. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Volume 49, Number 3
:7 I Connor, Ph.D. A varied selection of recent articles, stories and sites on the Web that some of you may find as interesting as! did. Thelistispostedatwww.tortoise.org/turtIenetpicksMmIforyourclickingconvenience. First Turtle Genome Published! Bradley Shaffer and his colleagues have sequenced the genome of the western painted turtle. http://tinyurl.com/wptgenome Loggerhead Sea Turtle to get Critical Habitat 35 years after the loggerhead sea turtle was listed under the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies are proposing to designate nesting beaches as critical habitat in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and the Gulf. http://tinyurl.com/loggerheadch Leatherback Sea Turtles Declining Pacific leatherback turtle populations continue to show steep declines. http://tinyurl.com/luthlosing Galapagos Tortoise Migrations Galapagos tortoises on Santa Cruz show clear seasonal movements. http://tinyurl.com/tortoisemigration Lonesome George in New York Lonesome George's remains were flown to New York formounting. T\ttp:/7tinyurLcom/jorjeinny
Smuggler Had 13% of the Known Plowshare Tortoise Population in His Bags 54 ploughshare and 21 radiated tortoises were found In a smuggler's luggage in Bangkok. http://tinyurl.com/shelkase Drunken Idiot Steals Aldabra Tortoise and Sells it on Facebook Stolen Woburn Safari Park tortoise was recovered after the thief sold it on Facebook. http://tinyurl.com/fbaldabara
and Programs Cen-Va/:May 9; June 13 Chino Valley: May 17; June 21 Foothill: May 24; June 28 High Desert: May 13, June 10 Inland Empire: May 3 - Eric Triplett, the Pond Digger; June 7 - Sea turtle research Kern Coc/r?fy:May 10; June 14 Low Desert: June 3 Orange County: May 10; June 14
CITES Acts to Limit Turtle & Tortoise Trade • The latest Conference of the Parties to CITES added the spotted turtle, Standing's turtle and the diamond back terrapin to Appendix II. http://tinyurl.com/uscopl6turtles • And there was encouraging news for chelonian conservation with multiple proposals from China. http://tinyurl.com/chinacop16turtles CTTC On Facebook For breaking news updates, visit and "like" us on _ _ _ http://tinyurl.com/fbcttc
CTTC Honored with DTC's Glenn R. Stewart Service Award The Desert Tortoise Council (DTC) presented its Glenn R. Stewart Service Award to the California Turtle & Tortoise Club Chapters at the DTC Annual Symposium held in Las Vegas., Nevada from February 15 to 17,2013. Mary Cohen was honored to accept the Award plaque on behalf of the CTTC Chapters.
Rldgecrest: May 13; June 10 Santa Barbara-Ventura: Contact the chapter for meeting information. Silicon Va//ey:May 17; June 21 TooSio (San Luis Ob/spoJrMay 15; June 12 TTCS (Long Beach): May 17 - Dr. Stephen Dunbar on Sea Turtles of Honduras; June 21 Valley: May 17; June 21 - Executive-Board: July-4-3-Meetings-ar-e-••—• held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, CA. Checkyour Chapter web site for the latest program information. <www.tortoise.org> has links to all CTTC chapters' web sites. Programs may be scheduled after the newsletter is published.
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The Award was presented in recognition of CTTC's adoptions program, which finds new} suitable homes for hundreds of desert tortoises (Cj-opfoerus acjassizii)} as well as other chelonian species, each year. CTTC is deeply grateful to DTC for this tribute to the work of its adoptions volunteers.
"... the current position of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is that it is illegal to breed captive [desert] tortoises." -www.deserttortoise.org/answeringquestions/ chapter2-2.html "CTTC will not place desert tortoises (Gopherus agasslzii) in situations where captive breeding may occur. CTTC works with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to place desert tortoises. Both CDFW and CTTC discourage the captive breeding of desert tortoises/ - tortoise.org/cttc/adoption.html
May | June 2013
2073 Show Schedule May 19 - Turtle & Tortoise Care Society (Long Beach) show at El Dorado Park, 2800 North Studebaker Road, Long Beach, CA 90815. 10AM-4PM. o o May 25 - Chino Valley Chapter show at Chino Girl Scout House, 5007 Center Street, Chino, CA 91710. 10AM-3PM.
s: U.S. Leads Efforts to Protect Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises at CITES BANGKOK, THAILAND - 8 MARCH 2013 — Several United States proposals to increase protections for freshwater turtles and tortoises under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have been adopted today by member nations of the Treaty. CITES member nations, referred to as "Parties," voted to increase protections for 44 species of Asian freshwater turtles and tortoises and three species of North American pond turtles.
Diamondback terrapin (Malademys terrapin}. Public domain. "We are extremely heartened by todays vote to —*5i—: eive'^T<»g3*~r^—^jJ... greater protection to_ -— — —~ , ——-^~~~~^ ———.—^rr: these highly imperiled species," said Bryan Arroyo, head of the U.S. delegation to the CITES 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16). "More than half of the world s freshwater turtles are threatened with extinction, yet they continue to be traded, unsustainably for food, as pets, and in traditional medicines. We've taken a significant step forward today to begin managing that trade." The United States jointly submitted with China two proposals to increase CITES protection for a number of Asian softshell and hardshell turtle species. These proposals included new additions to the Appendices, "uplisting" species from Appendix II to Appendix I, and the setting of zero export quotas. These proposals were agreed by consensus with strong support voiced by range states, Thailand, Japan, India, Pakistan, Liberia, Indonesia, and non-range states, Guinea and Paraguay. Proposals to transfer species from Appendix II to Appendix I were also agreed by consensus—a proposal for big-headed turtles, jointly submitted by the United f
States and Viet Nam, and a U.S. proposal for Burmese star tortoise. A proposal for the Roti Island snake-necked turde was agreed by consensus after being amended to maintain the species on CITES Appendix II with a zero export quota in wild specimens—effectively banning international commercial trade in turtles taken from the wild. "Freshwater turtles worldwide are in desperate need of conservation, and the outlook for Asian turtles is especially grim. We are committed to working with China and Viet Nam and other CITES member nations to ensure the survival of these species," said Arroyo. As Asian species have become increasingly depleted, trade patterns are shifting to species native to the United States. To address this growing problem, the United States proposed to list three native turde species—the diamondback terrapin, spotted turde, and Blanding's turtle—in ^L^~-^?^=----?~--===*-=•=*-:--^j-feu-—-^~=^=^= CITES Appendix II to manage the trade in a legal and sustainable manner. Canada, Senegal, and Ireland, on behalf of the 27 member states of the European Union and Croatia, among others, voiced strong support for these proposals before they were agreed by consensus. Turtles are in serious trouble around the world. Increasingly, freshwater turtles are in danger, with over half of the world's species threatened with extinction. Tortoises and freshwater turdes are the most threatened of any major group of terrestrial vertebrates — more than mammals, birds, or amphibians. They are being collected, traded, and utilized in overwhelming numbers. They are used for food, pets, and traditional medicine. Eggs, juveniles, adults, and body parts are all exploited with little regard for sustainability In Asia, turdes are used primarily as food and in traditional medicine, although a growing pet trade across the region impacts a number of threatened species. The global commerce in turdes in the last 20+ years has followed a well-known
pattern in international wildlife trade — once a species is depleted or regulated, the trade shifts to other species that are not as threatened or are less regulated. "We must address this issue by taking a broad scale approach to protecting freshwater turdes and tortoises. If we fail to consider these trade patterns, we risk the depletion of turdes and tortoises one species at a time," said Arroyo. CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and is currently signed by 178 countries regulating global trade in imperiled wild animals and plants including their parts and products. A meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held every 2-3 years to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the management and control of trade in the various wildlife species covered by the agreement. Species protected by CITES are included in one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level _£^roteodo^ .incluing resmctipixs, on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currendy not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the Parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual Parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other Parties to control trade. Q For additional biological and trade information on freshwater turtles and tortoises, please visit <http:// www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop16/turtles-andtortoises.htmlx To learn more about the Asian freshwater turtle and tortoise proposals that were submitted for consideration to CoP16, please refer to our fact sheet at <http://www.fws.gov/international/cites/copl6/ cop16-asian-turtle-proposals-factsheetpdf>. — United States Fish & Wildlife Service press release
Volume 49, Number 3
739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles — U.S. Government Finally Acts in Response to Conservation Lawsuits ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA—-MARCH 22, 2013— After five years of delay, the federal government today finally proposed to protect more than 739 miles of critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turdes (Caretta caretta) on their nesting beaches along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These sea turtles face serious threats to their long-term survival from drowning in fishing nets, loss of nesting beaches due to coastal development and sea-level rise. The proposal spans from North Carolina to Mississippi and encompasses 84 percent of all known nesting areas. Todays action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comes as a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, and Turtle Island Restoration Network, after federal agencies failed to respond to separate petitions filed by the groups to strengthen protections for all loggerhead populations in the U.S. dating bacEto 20077" "'" ""'"" '"'-'• "'"• ~":' ""The Southeast's nesting loggerheads swim thousands of miles through an obstacle course of human-made hazards," said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Protected beach habitat will help ensure that when they reach our beaches, exhausted and ready to nest, they're met with true southern hospitality: plenty of food, good conditions for nesting, and safe beaches for hatchlings to leave their nests so they may someday return to continue the cycle of life." This is the first permanent habitat protection has been proposed for sea turdes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, outside of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Any new beachside hotels, homes or commercial construction built on protected beaches that require federal permits would need to be reviewed to prevent harm to nesting areas. The government is also expected to propose in-water critical habitat areas later this year.
May | June 2013
The government must also protect offshore feeding and breeding areas and will likely propose in-water critical habitat later this year. Any wave-energy, offshoredrilling, or aquaculture projects in or likely to affect the designated ocean critical habitat would also require analysis and assessment to ensure that these activities would not compromise their ability to find food, breed, and migrate safely in their ocean home. "Turtles in water are often caught in fishing gear struck by moving vessels, or risk ingesting debris such as plastic bags by mistake," said Amanda Keledjian, a marine scientist at Oceana. "The National Marine Fisheries Service must follow upon this action and designate off-shore areas as well as waters directly adjacent to nesting beaches if they want these vulnerable populations to recover." "At last, these precious and well-loved sea turdes will find a safe haven when nesting and swimming along our coasts," ~sSJTo33^teinerr^e^iSve 3irector"of SeaTurdes.org.. "Thousands of volunteers that spend their summer nights walking the beaches looking for nesting turtles will breathe a bit easier knowing that these gende giants will face less danger when they return to the sea." Public comments will be accepted until May 24, 2013, with the final protections expected to take effect in 2014. Species with critical habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act are twice as likely to show signs of measureable recovery compared to those without. Background Loggerhead sea turtles make some of the longest journeys of any sea turtle species, making trips that can span entire ocean basins. Areas along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, contain critical feeding grounds for many turdes, but fishing activities and ocean pollution in these areas pose significant threats to their survival. Once fully mature, loggerheads nest on beaches from Texas to Virginia, but 90
percent of U.S. loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida — mostly in Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Sarasota counties. Sea-level rise, coastal development and beach armoring are only some of the dangers turdes encounter while trying to successfully nest. The number of loggerhead sea turdes nesting along Florida beaches has grown in recent years, however many of these beach areas were also hit last July with Tropical Storm Debbie, pulling thousands of loggerhead eggs out to sea. The main threats to loggerhead sea turde recovery are from serious injury or death from entanglement in fishing gear, destruction of foraging grounds and loss of nesting habitat. Scientists estimate sea levels will rise by at least three to six feet by the end of the century, with East Coast sea levels rising three to four times faster than the global average, flooding important sea turtle habitats on vulnerable Florida beaches. In addition, beach .----:-- — -—.-_•.__—. n r.-v ------•*:~^ar>gT" "~i— armoring and coastal development prevent natural beach migration, where, in the absence of humans, sandy beach areas would naturally retreat along with rising sea levels and sea turtles would be able to continue nesting. On Sept. 22, 2011, loggerhead sea turdes worldwide were protected as nine separate populations under the Endangered Species Act, including endangered North Pacific loggerheads and threatened Northwest Atlantic loggerheads. This triggered a requirement to designate and protect critical habitat areas concurrendy with the listing, with a deadline the government failed to meet. Seeking action on the petition filed in 2007, the Center, Oceana and Turde Island Restoration Network filed suit in January 2013 targeting the National Marine Fisheries Service's failure to designate critical habitat. Q *^
10: California Turtle and Tortoise Club Long Beach Care Society Chapter www.tortoise.org/ttcs Presents the 18th Annual
The California Turtle & Tortoise Club CHINO VALLEY CHAPTER
Turtle & Tortoise Care Expo One Day Only Sunday May 19, 2013
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SATURDAY, MAY 25,2013 10:00amto3:00pm
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Long Beach, Ca. 90815 • Turtles and Tortoises from Around the World • Care Information • Hourly Drawings ADMISSION Donations accepted at the Door CONTACT INFORMATION Log on to www.tortolse.org/ttcs
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ry Cen-Val Chapter <www.tortoise.org/cen-val> El P.O. Box 16418, Fresno, CA 93755-6418 Pres /V-P Robert Scott firstname.lastname@example.org Sec Kim Lemmon (559) 288-9851 Treas Diana Gatti email@example.com Meeting: Second Thursday, 7:00 PM @ Del Mar Elementary School, 4122 No. Del Mar, Fresno, CA 93704.
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the Tortuga Gazette May | June 2013 Volume 49> Number 3 Turtle of the Month: Ringed Map Turtle ((jraptemys oculifera)
In this issue: +. Desert Tortoise Council 2013 Symposium Presentations: Day I + U.S. Leads Efforts to Protect Freshwater Turdes and Tortoises at • CITES * '739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turdes Graptemys oculifera, the ringed sawback turtle. Photo © Bill Hughes. Source: ARKive. Used with permission.