May 23 is Turtle Day so we’re bringing you some of the cutest turtle lomographs from the community as well as news on our slow, shelled friends. While most talk about the abuse or extinction of the reptiles, there’s good news too! Read on to find out how you can help the future stay analogue and turtle-abundant.
In Maine, USA, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy are working together to install turtle crossing signs to warn drivers in Wells, South Berwick and York. Late May to early July is when females of the Spotted turtle and the Blanding turtle species, native to Maine, try to reach nesting areas which can put them in jeopardy with vehicles.
Good to know local authorities are watching out for the critters!
In the Philippines, some exotic restaurants are still secretly serving stewed sea turtle or pawikan, an endangered species whose hunting, sale and killing have been banned by law since 2001. The Wildlife Conservation Act penalizes violators with a P100,000 fine and imprisonment yet many get away with it unscathed, leaving the pawikan endangered because of poaching, slaughter, blast fishing, illegal trade and pollution.
Shortly after, a special task force was formed to hunt down establishments selling the meat of protected sea turtles. “[They will] pursue and initiate an aggressive protection and conservation movement of the endangered marine turtles which are now on the verge of total depletion,” regional environment chief Maximo Dichoso said.
Have you seen the camera made of a turtle shell by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs? We hope it’s not from a poached turtle!
Meanwhile, in Kemaman, Malaysia, about 200 river terrapin hatchlings were released into the Kemaman River, a program involving the Turtle Conservation Society (TCS), Wildlife and National Parks Department, and villagers of Kampung Pasir Gajah. “It shows that the villagers are serious in protecting river terrapins from becoming extinct,” TCS co-founder Chen Pelf Nyok said. “We can help spread awareness but the people are the ones who will make the difference,” she added. From 1,200 eggs collected this year, 600 have been successfully hatched while the remaining are still in incubation.
“The practice of eating turtle or terrapin eggs no longer exists here. We are more concerned about protecting the turtles.” Yay, terrapins!
In Colombia, car-sized remains of an ancient turtle were recovered in a coal mine, giving first evidence of giant-ism in freshwater turtles. North Carolina State paleontologists said that the 60-million-year-old turtle, Carbonemys cofrinii aka “coal turtle,” has a shell large enough to be a small swimming pool while its skull is roughly the size of a football. The turtles grew so big that it is believed crocodiles became their prey.
Lastly, in Los Angeles, USA, a man was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for smuggling dozens of live turtles and tortoises from Japan into the U.S. by hiding them in snack food boxes. Atsushi Yamagami was given 21 months and fined more than $18,000 after pleading guilty to one felony count of smuggling. He could have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years. In a letter to U.S. District Judge George King, Yamagami apologized and promised never to engage in animal smuggling again. “I am extremely ashamed and remorseful about my actions,” he wrote.
Turtles may move slow and take their time in doing so (just like analogue photography?), but they’re part of the world that we are living in too, so let’s keep them around for as long as possible! Raise awareness for the protection of our reptilian friends by sharing your turtle photos today! Happy Turtle Day! :-)