• A varied selection of recent articles, stories and sites on the Web that is compiled by Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.
  • The links are listed as published in the relevant issue of the Tortuga Gazette.
  • Please note that all links were functioning when posted. My apologies if any are no longer available. Disabled links are present for informational purposes.
  • Click Turtle Net Picks to suggest a Net Picks addition.

Tortuga Gazette 56(1) | January/February 2020

Tortoises Learn New Tricks and Remember Them
Aldabra tortoises taught to recognize colored balls remembered nine years later.

Feds May Allow New Highway through Red Cliffs Reserve The Administration is moving forward with plans to build a highway through the most important desert tortoise habitat at Red Cliffs Reserve, St. George, Utah. This is land that was set aside to protect Utah’s few remaining desert tortoises.

Giant Asian Forest Tortoise Head-Starting
Efforts to conserve and recover Bangladesh’s remaining Asian Forest Turtles are paying off.

Gopher Tortoise Nesting and False Nesting Behavior
Biologists describe nesting behaviors of wild Gopher Tortoises, Gopherus polyphemus, at Archbold Biological Station in south-central Florida.

Pancake Tortoise Range Extension
A small population of the critically endangered Pancake tortoise discovered at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.

Emmott's Short-neck Turtle
One of Australia’s largest river turtles, the Cooper Creek or Emmott's short-neck turtle, Emydura macquarii emmotti, appears to be doing well despite drought.

Western Pond Turtle Head-Starting
Video overview of Woodland Park Zoo’s western pond turtle program.

Yellow-Spotted River Turtle Release
Video of a release of head-started taricaya or yellow-spotted river turtle hatchlings in Peru.

US Hawksbill Turtles Show Little Evidence of Recovery
New study shows that nest counts are a poor proxy for estimating adult female population status and highlights the need for multiple approaches to estimating turtle population trends.

The Administration Scales Back Moves to Protect Kemp’s Ridley
Final rule exempts most shrimpers from new requirements to include escape hatches (“TEDS”) in their nets to reduce risks of turtles drowning.

New Fossil Sheds Light on the Evolution of Modern Sea Turtles
Newly described 75 million year old fossil turtle, Asmodochelys parhami, may have been one of the most recent ancestors of modern sea turtles.

Global Turtle Mapping
Tennessee Aquarium is leading an effort to develop interactive maps of the world's turtle communities.

New Therapy For Sea Turtles With Red Tide Poisoning
A detox therapy used to treat overdoses in humans may help save endangered sea turtles from red tide poisoning!

Radiolab - There and Back Again
Podcast on long-distance migrations in birds, turtles, and mammals. (Most of the turtle discussion is in the second half)


Tortuga Gazette 56(2) | March/April 2020


Peter Pritchard, turtle conservationist extraordinaire, passed away February 25, 2020.

Over 18,000 Commenters Oppose Building Highway Through Red Cliffs Reserve
Over 18,000 commented on Northern Corridor highway in defense of Red Cliffs Reserve. This proposed highway would go through the most important desert tortoise habitat on the preserve.

Desert Tortoise Genome
New draft desert tortoise genome assembly is yielding interesting results.

Genotyping Protocol for Mojave Desert Tortoise Scat
Biologists have developed a genotyping protocol that can identify individual tortoises from their poop!

Galapagos Status
If you are curious about current conditions in the Galapagos, a new website lets you check climatic conditions and volcanic activity across the archipelago.

Descendants of Two “Extinct” Galapagos Tortoises Found
After a 10 day search, biologists have recovered tortoises with Floreana and Pinta Island genetic backgrounds from Isabela Island’s Wolf Volcano - descendants of tortoises left there by whalers.

Diego the Giant Tortoise to be Released Back to the Wild
After participating in a breeding program for almost eight decades, Diego, a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise, will be released back on his native Española (Hood) Island in March.

Largest Ever Fossil Turtle
At 2.40 meters (7.5 feet) long, a reconstructed fossil Stupendemys geographicus from Venezuela is the largest turtle ever found.

The published paper is open access.

Important New Fossil Turtle From France
Laurasichersis relicta, a newly discovered key stem turtle, survived the asteroid impact that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction and killed off the dinosaurs.

The published paper is open access.

Yoshi, Long Distance Swimmer
A loggerhead sea turtle from Australia has officially left all other long-distance swimmers in her wake after swimming 22,000 miles in two years!

Oil Spills and Sea Turtles
New study documents the effects of oil spills on sea turtles, and provides recommendations related to oil spills for managers, researchers, and conservation groups around the world.

Sea Turtle Successes
Five sea turtle conservation success stories of the 2010’s.

African Sea Turtle News
Read the latest African Sea Turtle Newsletter.


Tortuga Gazette 56(3) | May/June 2020

Benefits and Costs of Covid-19 to Turtles

Covid-19 restrictions on humans are reportedly benefitting leatherback sea turtles in Thailand from having fewer tourists on their nesting beaches.

And so are olive ridley sea turtles in India.

USA National Parks are finding less road-killed tortoises.

Covid-19 might push the planet to finally end wildlife trafficking.

Italian Woman Fined €400 for Walking Her Tortoise.

Giant-Tortoise-Drinking Video Goes Viral
One thing about living through a plague is that we all have more time to watch tortoises drink.

Diamondback Terrapin Natural History
Barbara Brennessel’s 2006 book, Diamonds in the Marsh: A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin, is now available for free download at Wheaton College.

New Matamata Species
Meet the newly recognized Orinoco matamata, Chelus orinocensis, from the Orinoco and Río Negro river basins.

Manning River Turtles Hatched
Manning River turtles hatched at Australian Reptile Park as part of head-starting program.

Tamaulipas Beach Turtle Nesting Season
The Kemp's ridley nesting season started in April and arribadas will continue until August.

Eastern Pacific Leatherback Sea
Enhanced, coordinated conservation efforts required to avoid extinction of critically endangered Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles. (pdf)

Tortoiseshell Trade
Yes, unbelievably Hawksbill turtles are still being killed for the ornamental value of their shells ! Read The Global Tortoiseshell Trade, April 2020.

Latest State of the World’s Sea Turtle Report
SWOT volume XV is now available for download.

Latest Marine Turtle Newsletter
MTN Issue Number 160 now available.

Clean Water Act Ruling
On April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision solidifying the Clean Water Act as one of the nation’s most effective environmental laws. It stopped a Maui waste water plant from discharging pollutants into a water basin that flows into a bay used by sea turtles.

Planet of the Humans
This documentary doesn’t feature tortoises but it does review some of the Ivanpah Valley shenanigans. Watch it for free before it gets banned!