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Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 2000, 2:21-22
© 2000 by Chelonian Research Foundation

Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter

Newsnotes and Announcements


Head Herpetology Zookeeper position available at the Detroit Zoo. It is assigned to the National Amphibian Conservation Center and requires a four-year degree in biological sciences; preferably academic training in reptiles exhibition of a variety of reptiles and amphibians including supervision of zookeeper staff. Successful candidate will have experience with the managed husbandry and reproduction of amphibians. Send letter/resumes to Terrence DeRosa, Director of Conservation and Animal Welfare, Detroit Zoological Institute, PO Box 39, Royal Oak, MI 48068-0039; Fax (248) 691-4194; E-mail: tderosa@detroitzoo.org. No longer accepting applications

Turtles of the World CD-ROM now available for PC users! ETI, the Expert Center for Taxonomic Identification, has just released Turtles of the World 1.2 for Windows. The cost is 99.95 Euro (1 Euro=0.94$ US). For Macintosh users, a free v1.2 update is available for download from the ETI web site (http://www.eti.uva.nl), so that the contents on both platforms are completely identical. Compared to the original Mac v1.0 CD, new features include: a key down to the level of subspecies, full compatibility with Mac OS 8 and 9, updated keys and accounts for several species, and a lot of new pictures. This summer, new taxa described or resurrected between December 1997 and April 2000 (mainly SE Asian and Australian taxa) will be added. An update to the CD-ROM with these taxa will be made available on the ETI web site.


The University of Colorado Museum Herp Collection encourages use of its 60,000 specimens, with particularly strong representation of the southwestern U.S and Mexico. The collections database is fully computerized; thus requests for specimen information can be answered quickly. The numbers of specimens of each species are available on-line at the California Academy of Sciences Combined Index to Herpetology Collections website (http://research. calacademy.org/herpetology/Comb_Herp_Index.html).

Loans or other requests can be submitted by regular mail or E-mail to the author (address below) or to Rosanne Humphrey (Rosanne.Humphrey@colorado.edu), Collections Manager, at the same address. Researchers and students are also encouraged to visit the collections. Additional information can be found at http://www.colorado.edu/CUMUSEUM/research/zoology/zoology.html. Alan de Queiroz, Curator of Vertebrates, Univ. of Colorado Museum, Campus Box 334, Boulder, CO 80309-0334; Phone 303-492-4206; FAX 303-492-8699; E-mail: dequeiro@stripe.colorado.edu


Free Database for registering private reptile collections. In order to promote sound registration and gathering of data in (private) reptile collections, I have created a database that runs under Microsoft Access97 (version 8.0) or Access2000. The database features tools to register and/or link to all kinds of information (growth, breeding, diet, et cetera) per specimen, thus optimizing possibilities for managing (and eventually sharing) this information. Furthermore, a sound registration of specimens and information about ancestors can be considered important in order to be able to form (genetically) healthy captive populations. The database can be downloaded from http://members.tripod.com/homopus/download.htm.Victor Loehr, Nipkowplein 24, 3402 EC IJsselstein, Netherlands; E-mail: loehr@homopus.org.


Hofstra University Diamondback Volunteer Project. Volunteers are needed to help with a local diamondback terrapin conservation project this spring and summer. Students can receive credit for their participation in this program. You can get a fantastic tan while helping out a species in trouble, get valuable experience with wildlife, and do something for the natural world! Volunteers must have their own transportation to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Gateway National Recreational Area (Brooklyn and Queens). For more information contact Dr. Russell Burke, Dept. Biology, Hofstra Univ.; Phone (516) 463-5521; E-mail:biorlb@hofstra.edu.


A New Partnership. It is an honor and a pleasure to announce the initiation of an education and research partnership between the prestigious Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Terrapin Station. The Academy of Natural Sciences is a private, non-profit organization located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1812, the Academy is the oldest science research institution in the Western Hemisphere. In 1967 the Academy established the Estuarine Research Center (www.anserc.org) on the Patuxent River in Benedict, Maryland. The Center now occupies a 23,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in St. Leonard, Maryland, on the grounds of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.

Our first order will be with terrapin conservation and public awareness in the area of the Academy’s Esturarian Research Center in St. Leonard’s, Maryland on the Patuxent River. The Academy has a long history of conducting fisheries management research and conservation. This cooperation will be a great help to terrapin conservation. We thank Candace Morrell, Erin Strickland, and George Abbe for facilitating our partnership and look forward to many years of collaboration. Marguerite Whilden, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, Fisheries Conservation and Stewardship; Phone (410) 260-8269; and E-mail: mwhilden@dnr.state.md.us.


U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Prohibits the importation and, until further notice, the interstate movement of all species of leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis), African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), and Bell’s hingeback tortoise (Kinixys belliana). These actions are necessary to prevent the introduction and spread of exotic ticks known to be vectors of heartwater disease, an acute infectious disease of ruminants, both domestic and wild. The interim rule is effective March 22, 2000. For further information contact Dr. D. D.Wilson, Senior Staff Entomologist, Emergency Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Rd., Unit 41, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; Phone (301) 734-8073. This note is now outdated.


MANOURIA is a French language publication for chelonian researchers, managers, vets, breeders, students, and enthusiasts from around the world. Manouria offers a wide variety of articles to educate the audience on chelonian features in nature and captivity. It is the first time a French review offers in each issue a collection of general information, public education and scientific articles. Four issues with color pictures are published each year. All original papers are welcome and should be written either in French with a short English abstract or in English and the editorial board will insure the translation. For information or to subscribe, please contact Fabienne Doswald, Clos des Ecornaches 9, CH-1226 Thonex, Switzerland; pho/Fax:+41/22.348.56.53; E-mail: df.doswald@bluewin.ch or visit the Website (mypage.bluewin.ch/tortue/manouria/manouria.htm).


The Tortoise Reserve will sponsor a ghost crab pot cleanup this summer (date not yet set) around Ocracoke Is., NC. The plan is to make this a community effort. The watermen will help with the cleanup and the pots will be fitted with excluders and given back to local watermen. I will try to document numbers of terrapins (parts) recovered from the pots. At this time information on by-catch, excluders, crab catch in ghost pots, etc. from other regions would be most welcome. This will take some set up time and we need to provide the watermen with real facts. Appropriate reprints would be great. See article “Terrapin Conservation Efforts” on pg. 9. Dave Lee, The Tortoise Reserve, Inc., P.O. Box 7082, White Lake, NC 28337; E-mail: TorResInc@aol.com.This event is being rescheduled for the fall on a smaller scale - still no dates.


Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Transportation helps out map turtles. In March last year, hundreds of female map turtles were killed as they emerged to nest along a newly opened stretch of Route 522/DiCosimo Bypass along the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. This year the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation is spending $58,000 to make sure this doesn’t happen again. An artificial nesting area has been constructed, a three ft. high, three-quarters of a mile long turtle fence has been erected, and two interns are patrolling the roadside and protecting the nests. Summarized from the POST-GAZETTE (Pittsburgh) 17 May 2000.


New book available: Turtles of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia by Lim Boo Liat and Indraniel Das, 1999. (ISBN 983-812-039-1) xii + 151 pages. Hardbound. 16 x 22.5 cm. The Turtles of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia provides an account of the turtles of a tropical region known for its rich biodiversity. In all, 25 species are described and illustrated with color photographs, including two exotics that are now established. The introductory chapters include an identification key to the turtles of the region. For each species, there is a section on identification, its global and local distribution, notes on natural history, and conservation status. A glossary of technical terms and a list of references are appended to the back. This book will be of interest to tourists, biologists, park managers, conservationists or those simply curious about the wildlife and wilderness areas of Southeast Asia.

The cost is US$ 37.00 or Sterling Pounds 22.00 (inclusive of air parcel postage). To order contact: Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd., A913, 9th Floor, Wisma Merdeka, P.O. Box 13908, 88846 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; Tel: 6088-233098; Fax: 6088-240768; E-mail: chewlun@tm.net.my.


Martha Messenger, George Patton and Senator Robert Barham receive Louisiana Award. At the recent Louisiana Wildlife Federation Banquet, George Patton & Martha Messinger received the Governor’s Award for outstanding Conservationist of the Year. This is the state’s highest conservation award. Senator Robert Barham received the Legislative Conservationist Award of the Year. The awards were presented on behalf of their work on the box turtle legislation that stopped all commercial harvesting of box turtles in the state of Louisiana.


Tortoise theft. In March my seven year-old perfect Aldabran, bearing a yellow paint number 15 (probably very worn) on its carapace was stolen from Robert-Is-Here, 19200 SW Palm Dr., Florida City, FL, USA. This tortoise weighed about 50 pounds, had a concave rear carapace profile, and measured nearly two feet. It was probably a female. A week later, four or five sulcata tortoises were also taken. The largest was a 40 pound four year old, a beautiful immature male. He bore a yellow horizontal “W” painted on his first vertebral scute. Another, smaller bore a vertical “B” on its carapacial dome. The thieves took advantage of fence construction that had temporarily reduced the range of the dogs. The situation has been corrected and security has been enhanced. Still, I would like to warn others and would appreciate any help. I shall not pay any ransom and I will ask questions. Richard Cary Paull, Green Nature Books, 16021 SW 284 St., Homestead, FL 33033 USA; E-mail: RCPAULL@webtv.net.


Turtle Torture 101. Live turtles continue to be subjected to painful physiology experiments at the Univ. of Houston. The outdated experiments include drilling a hole into the turtle’s shell, pumping the creature full of stimulants, and then watching the heart’s reaction. The majority of medical schools in the US have opted for more humane alternatives through high-tech computer programs, videos, or simulators. The chairperson of the Biology and Biochemistry Dept. is currently reviewing alternatives to live turtles, but has not committed to any changes within the physiology lab. Letters of protest can be sent to Arthur K. Smith, President, Univ. of Houston, 4800 Colhoun, Houston, TX 77204-2162. This was first published in the March/April 2000 issue of Animals Agenda. The University of Houston has stopped using live turtles in these experiments.