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Hinge-back Tortoises (Kinixys)

Assurance Colonies Grow in South Carolina

Amidst a flurry of construction and renovation that has been taking place at the Turtle Survival Center (TSC) this summer, animal care and husbandry has remained a top priority. The steadily growing collection at the TSC is now comprised of 421 animals, representing 32 species. A recent spate of hatchlings has been very exciting for everyone involved in the TSA, none more so than for the staff at the Center.

To date, seven individuals from five species have hatched in South Carolina: one Red-necked Pond Turtle (Mauremys nigricans), two Yellow-margined Box Turtles (Cuora flavomarginata), one Southeast Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis), two Beal’s Eyed Turtles (Sacalia bealei), and one Spiny Turtle (Heosemys spinosa). Cris Hagen, Director of Animal Management, is especially thrilled about the Spiny Turtle that hatched, as it comes from a group of turtles that he has raised since 2004. Though they have laid eggs in previous years, this was the first time that an egg from this group developed.

Aside from hatchlings, the collection has also grown by leaps and bound in recent months thanks to new arrivals at the Center, many of which were animals that were owned by the TSA, but had been out on loan to TSA members or zoos. Seeing these animals coming together to form assurance colonies is really exciting, as it embodies the vision of the TSC that the staff has been working toward for more than a year now.
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Turtles Seized in Senegal

A group of 12 turtles were seized in late May at the airport of Dakar LLS and assigned to the TSA Africa team by the CITES authorities of Senegal. IMG 0829The group was comprised of four African softshell turtles (Trionyx tringuis), four Home's hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys homeana), two Serrated hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys erosa) and two West African mud turtles (Pelusios castaneus). 

IMG 0845The turtles came from Nigeria bound for Europe, and didn't have the proper health papers required for transit. The TSA Africa team would like to thank the Senegalese CITES authorities (Captain Abba Sonko) for their cooperation.

The turtles cannot be returned to the wild, as their origin is unknown. Instead they will contribute to the conservation of their species as part of captive assurance colonies currently being managed by TSA Africa.
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Seized Turtles in the EU as a Source for Conservation

The European Union has traditionally been a very important market for the reptile trade. We all think of Germany, of course, but all the other countries have a strong appeal for traders, both legal and illegal. As the EU and National regulations became tighter (a process still going on), the illegal trade in turtles has grown, calling higher attention from several Law Enforcement Agencies throughout Europe. This has resulted in a number of seizures: although a complete picture is difficult to put together, information gathered by the writer point to an average of 2000-3000 specimen per year from 2005 to 2008.

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TSA Africa is Born

The African division of the Turtle Survival Alliance has been created and is based in Senegal, a small country in West Africa. The chairman of the group is Tomas Diagne, an agronomist who is also member of IUCN/TFTSG. TSA Africa’s main objective is the study and conservation of land tortoises and freshwater turtles and their natural habitats in Africa.

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