• 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 58(1) | January/February 2022

Differential Predation on Translocated Juvenile Desert Tortoises
Study reports that coyote and kit fox predation accounted for 24 of 31 deaths among 59 translocated juvenile desert tortoises, with 71% (17) of the females being taken compared to 29% (7) of the males.

Pancake Tortoise Threatened by Trade and Habitat Loss
AP video on Kenya’s pancake tortoises, Malacochersus tornieri (and a few leopard tortoises).

Aldabra Giant Tortoises Released on Desroches Island
Twenty-seven captive-raised Aldabra giant tortoises were released by the Island Conservation Society the Seychelles island of Desroches.

The Art of Studying Giant Tortoise Scat
Interview with Marco Antonio Jiménez Aguaisa, a graduate student working on the diets and movement of Galapagos giant tortoises by studying their droppings.

Galápagos Giant Tortoise Genome Offers Clues on Longevity
Live long and prosper: Galápagos giant tortoise genomes have extra copies of genes that may help them age well and evade cancer.

What Do 1,364 Star Tortoises Look Like?
Sickening video of the 1,364 star tortoises seized January 4 at Chennai (Madras) Airport.

Western Pond Turtle Census at Berkeley’s Jewel Lake
Video of wildlife experts checking the health of Western pond turtles living in Jewel Lake, Tilden Regional Park.

Climate Change Effects Western Pond Turtle Habitat in Southern California
Video of Rosi Dagit reviewing the effects of climate change on the Santa Monica Mountain habitat of Western pond turtles.

Hidden World of Turtle Mating Behavior
Canadian biologists study turtle mating behavior in Ottawa.

Perth Zoo Has Record Year for Western Swamp Turtle Hatchlings
Perth Zoo successfully bred 65 hatchlings in the latest season, the program’s highest on record.

Thousands of Hatchling Yellow-spotted Amazon Turtles Released in Peru
Video of the release of 3,000 hatchling yellow-spotted turtles, Podocnemis unifilis, or taricayas as the Peruvians call them.

Trinidad’s Mysterious Gibba Turtles
The gibba turtle, Mesoclemmys gibba, is the most rarely seen of Trinidad’s three native species of freshwater turtle.

California Leatherbacks Endangered Due to Human Impacts
“Let’s face it: This is an animal that’s been around for 80 million years. You could not argue it’s poorly adapted,” he said. “It’s been able to survive just about anything, but it seems to be having a hard time handling us.” Scott Benson, NOAA biologist.

Good News for Florida Leatherbacks
Leatherback sea turtle nest numbers for 2021 in south Florida were double the previous record set in 2012.

Padre Island National Seashore Controversy
Padre Island National Seashore volunteers rally behind sea turtle biologist Donna Shaver.

Cape Verde Sees Boom in Sea Turtle Nests
The number of sea turtle nests in the Cape Verde archipelago rose to almost 200,000 in 2021.

Marine Turtle Newsletter
Latest (October 2021) Marine Turtle Newsletter is available.

African Sea Turtle Newsletter
African Sea Turtle Newsletter #17 is available.

Fossil Pig-nosed Turtle Found at a Melbourne Beach
Five million-year-old pig-nosed turtle fossil found in Beaumaris is raising new questions about where these turtles evolved.


Tortuga Gazette 58(2) | March/April 2022

A New Galapagos Giant Tortoise Identified By Genotyping Museum Specimens
Genotyping of samples stored at the California Academy of Sciences shows that San Cristóbal Island which is home to the domed Chelonoidis chathamensis once had a population of saddle back tortoises.

Expedition Fernandina
On March 3, Park Rangers will start scouring Fernandina island for a mate for Fernanda, currently the only known Fernandina Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus).

Save Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Habitat
The Biden Administration has not acted to stop the Trump Administration highway through Red Cliffs desert tortoise habitat. Join 35,000 other folk and sign the petition.

No Listing for Sonoran Desert Tortoises
Yet again, the Feds denied endangered species list protection for Sonoran desert tortoises.

Metabolic Cost of Self-righting in Tortoises
Study published in Nature finds that self-righting in Testudo graeca is metabolically expensive costing around two times the mass-specific power required to walk.

Box Turtle Personality Study
Washburn University research measures differences in behavioral traits among a group of test turtles.

Head Started Black Soft-shell Turtles Released
Fifty three young black soft-shell turtles (Nilssonia nigricans), known locally as Bostami tortoises, were released in Chattogram, Bangladesh.

Net Illumination Reduces Sea Turtle and Shark Bycatch
Simple green lights save sharks and turtles from drowning in fishing nets while keeping fishing profits up.

Turtles Fly Too
Turtles Fly Too coordinates “first responder” relocation efforts for sea turtles in trouble.

Face Mask Found in Sea Turtle's Poop
Judging by the number of dumped masks I’ve seen on trails and sidewalks I expected it would only be a matter of time before I heard this...

Green Sea Turtle Predicts Volcanic Eruption?
One of many media pieces covering the claim that “Tilly the green sea turtle” predicted the December 20, 2021 eruption of Tonga-Hunga.

Sea Turtle Research Databases
For the technical minded this page offers a succinct review of sea turtle database systems.

Ghanaian Soccer Players Work to Conserve Sea Turtles
Soccer players in Gomoa Fetteh, Ghana are guarding turtle nests from poachers and rescuing turtles captured by fishermen.


Tortuga Gazette 58(3) | May/June 2022

Aldabra Tortoise Behavior During Human-Tortoise Interactions
Study finds that many tortoises chose to interact with their keepers during training and approach tests, and suggests that human-tortoise interactions may have enrichment value.

Fernandina Island Giant Tortoise Search
The recent hunt for another Fernandina giant tortoise came up short. A new expedition to survey smaller habitat patches is in preparation.

Highway through Red Cliffs Opposed by Natural Resources Committee Members
Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee are urging the Secretary of Interior to rescind approval of a highway that would eliminate key desert tortoise habitat in Utah’s Red Cliffs Reserve.

Desert Tortoise Predators Identified by DNA Analyses of Scat
Genetic analysis is being used to detect desert tortoise remains in canid scat and raven pellets.

RIP Cecil Schwalbe
Renowned herpetologist Dr. Cecil Robert Schwalbe passed away April 3rd.

Supporting Turtles in Post-industrial Baltimore
Turtles (and people watching them) in Baltimore Harbor can now enjoy a 100-square-foot floating platform designed and built just for turtle basking.

Underwater Noise Causes Hearing Loss in Turtles
Study finds that turtles are vulnerable to hearing loss from underwater noise pollution.

Video - Hatchling European Pond Turtle Heads for the Pond
One tiny European pond turtle... one epic journey...

Video - Snake-Necked Turtle Video
Uber cool, 18 second video of an Australian snake-necked turtle swimming at night

Sea Turtle Receives Acupuncture to Treat Jaw Injury
Bassoon, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle, is eating on his own again after several weeks of daily acupuncture treatments at Baltimore's National Aquarium.

New Genetic Clues Could be Key to Understanding Fibropapillomatosis
Scientists are looking at the role that gene variants in sea turtle immune systems play in potentially protecting them from fibropapillomatosis.

Rebuilding Green Sea Turtle Populations
A controversial green sea turtle reintroduction program started 50 years ago in the Cayman Islands may be paying off.

Qatar Hawksbill Headstart Program
In the last three years Qatar has released over 31,000 young hawksbill sea turtles at Fuwairit Beach as part of the nation’s project to protect endangered species.

Protection Paying Off for Aldabra’s Green Sea Turtles
Green turtle numbers continue to rise in the Aldabra Atoll where the species has now been protected for more than 50 years.

Protecting West Africa’s Green Sea Turtles
A network of West African marine protected areas running from Cape Verde to Sierra Leone – is protecting vital habitats for green sea turtles.

Deep Water Port Threat to Congo’s Sea Turtles
Rising sea levels and erosion have consumed almost a quarter of Congo’s sea turtle nesting beaches. Now a new concern is emerging in the form of a proposed deep water port.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Acts to Protect Veracruz Reef From Port Expansion
This decision preserves habitats for endangered hawksbill sea turtle and protects the largest reef system in the Gulf of Mexico from the destructive construction of new navigation channels, land access points, and other port facilities.

Cretaceous Turtle Burrows
I can’t resist a good turtle fossil study. This one is a little different because the “fossils” are Cretaceous Era turtle burrows. The study findings support the hypothesis that turtle shells evolved as an adaptation to burrowing behavior.

New Cretaceous Era Softshell
A newly identified softshell turtle, Hutchemys walkerorum, lived in North Dakota alongside Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops.

Calls for USFWS Reform
Coalition of 140 groups is calling for major reforms at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end political meddling and restore scientific integrity to the endangered species listing process.