Best of our wild blogs: 11 Jan 14

A new year, a new life on Chek Jawa
from Peiyan.Photography

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Over 8,000 pig-nosed turtles rescued in Indonesia

Channel NewsAsia 10 Jan 14;

JAKARTA: Indonesian officials said on Friday they have rescued more than 8,000 baby pig-nosed turtles hidden in suitcases and thought to be destined for China and Singapore.

A total of 2,968 were discovered in four suitcases at the airport serving the capital Jakarta after arriving from the remote eastern Papua region, said Zaenal Abidi, quarantine official.

"The suitcases were full of plastic boxes holding 15 to 20 turtles each. Sadly, 14 of them were dead on arrival," he said.

Airport officials were asked Thursday to be on the look-out for pig-nosed turtles -- classified as vulnerable -- after 5,400 of the creatures were discovered in seven suitcases in Papua, he said.

Abidi said that pig-nosed turtles smuggled through Jakarta are usually sent to Singapore or China, where they are sold as exotic pets and sometimes end up in food markets.

All the turtles would be returned to their natural habitat in Papua, Abidi said.

He added that police knew who had checked in the luggage but their whereabouts were now unknown.

The pig-nosed turtle is only found in Australia and New Guinea, an island shared between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, and is protected under Indonesian conservation laws.

It has a distinctive snout-like nose and webbed feet.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the pig-nosed turtle as vulnerable and trade of the species is restricted.

- AFP/nd

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Malaysia: Warning of high winds, rough seas

New Straits Times 11 Jan 14;

KUALA LUMPUR: Winds up to 60km per hour and waves more than 5.5m high are expected in several areas of the South China Sea until Jan 20, the Meteorological Department said yesterday.

It said in a statement that the waters off Kelantan and Terengganu would face similar weather conditions and were also exposed to a rise in the sea level.

It also said high winds of between 50km and 60km per hour, with waves reaching as high as 4.5m were reported in the waters off Pahang, eastern Johor, Sabah (the interior, West Coast, Kudat and Sandakan divisions), Labuan and Sarawak.

The coastal areas of Pahang and eastern Johor were also exposed to a rise in the sea level during this period, a phenomenon dangerous to all shipping and beach activities, including fishing and ferry services, said the statement.

In the waters off Sabah (Tawau, Semporna and Lahad Datu), high winds of between 40km and 50km per hour were forecast and the condition was dangerous for small boats as well as sea sports and recreational activities. Bernama

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