47 Pangolins, 100 Critically Endangered Turtles Rescued in Myanmar

Myanmar authorities rescued and released 47 pangolins into the wid and arrested one smuggler. Photo via ASEAN-WEN
Myanmar authorities rescued and released 47 pangolins into the wid and arrested one smuggler. Photo via ASEAN-WEN

Encouraging news from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN): 47 pangolins and 100 Arakan Forest Turtles confiscated by police in Myanmar have been rescued.

The pangolins have been released into the wild, and the turtles are being housed and cared for at the Turtle Rescue Center in Naung-Cho Township, Shan State.

Both seizures were made on August 24, 2013. The pangolin incident occurred in Thahton Township of Mon State and one smuggler was arrested and charged in accordance with section 37 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994). If convicted, the defendant faces a prison sentence of up to seven years or a maximum fine of MMK 50,000 (US $51) or both.

100 Critically Endangered Arakan Forest Turtles are being cared for at the Turtle Rescue Center in Myanmar. Photo via ASEAN-WEN
100 Critically Endangered Arakan Forest Turtles are being cared for at the Turtle Rescue Center in Myanmar. Photo via ASEAN-WEN

Meanwhile, in Hopone Township of Shan State, Forest Department officials seized 105 Critically Endangered Arakan Forest Turtles (Heosemys depressa) and arrested a suspect who is being charged in accordance with section 36(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994). The maximum punishment is up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of MMK 30,000 (US $31) or both. The operation was carried out in collaboration with Myanmar Police Force. Sadly, five turtles died.

Two days earlier, 14 tortoises and three turtles (species not provided) were seized at Oattwin Township in Bago Region and one smuggler was arrested. The suspect is being charged in accordance with section 35 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which carries a maximum prison sentence of three years, or a fine of MMK 10,000 (US $10) or both.

Thanks to the Turtle Survival Alliance and its partners, an Arakan Turtle Center was opened in Gwa, Myanmar, where a breeding group for this Critically Endangered species has been established.


Source: ASEAN-WEN

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.