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24th December 2014

Ben Tre Province, Vietnam: Southern fisherman catches giant southern turtle

A fisherman in Chau Thanh district of Ben Tre province (southern Vietnam) caught a large Asiatic soft-shell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) weighing 23.5kg (81 cm long and 50 cm wide) on the 14th of December 2014. He claims to have been offered 20 - 30 million VND ($950 - $1,430) for the animal but has so far refused. Amyda cartilaginea is highly threatened in Vietnam, listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. ATP NOTE: Despite this the animal has still not been confiscated as it is not clearly listed as protected under Vietnamese law, unfortunately such cases are not unusual and highlights current gaps in legislation in Vietnam.

Amyda cartilaginea

Amyda cartilaginea


6th September 2013

VTV1 Television news covers Mauremys return event (Vietnamese)

Vietnamese TV station covers historic event of 71 Vietnamese pond turtles (Mauremys annamensis) returning from Europe to Vietnam.


29th August 2013

Cuora picturata twins hatch in the Netherlands

Ever wondered what twin turtles look like? Check out the photos from Richard Struijk in the Netherlands, the European studbook keeper for Cuora species, who was surprised to find two Lesser Indochinese box turtles (Cuora picturata) hatching from the same egg. The turtles were still connected by the umbilical cord and seem very healthy.

Thank you Richard for sharing pictures of your Cuora twins with us


20th August 2013

Manouria impressa rescued by young student in Thua Thien Hue province

On 9th of August 2013, a female Impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) was successfully released to Bach Ma National Park by the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of Nam Dong district, Thua Thien Hue province. The species Manouria impressa is listed under Vietnamese law in Appendix IIB of Decree 32/2006/ND-CP. The turtle was going to be killed for food by a local man who bought it for 150,000VND (~$7) in Huong Huu commune, Nam Dong district. Fortunately, it was saved by a young student named Phan Van Tien Loc who lives in the same commune as the man and who participated in the annual Asian Turtle Program Tortoise (ATP) Freshwater Turtle Field Skill Training Course for students in 2013. ATP in collaboration with Nam Dong FPD and Laguna Resorts & Hotels public company then released the lucky animal successfully back to the wild. The Laguna company is based in Thua Thien Hue province and is developing a turtle conservation plan within the province with technical support from the ATP.

Press release by Thu Thuy Nguyen (ATP)


5th July 2013

Endangered Chinese stripe necked turtle handed over to ATP following the tortoise and freshwater turtle field skill training course in 2013

On the 30th of June 2013 a local man from Da Nang City voluntarily handed over a Chinese stripe necked turtle (Mauremys sinensis) to the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) after learning about the species' endangered status in the wild.

Several weeks before the transfer, Miss Bui Thi Nguyen Nu, a former student who participated in the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Field Skill Training Course held at Cuc Phuong National Park in March 2013, discovered Mr. Ho T+hanh Tuan was keeping a Chinese stripe necked turtle as a pet in his house in Cam Le District, Da Nang. Miss Nguyen Nu explained that this turtle species is becoming increasingly rare in Vietnam. The species is dependent on lowland wetland habitat and population numbers have reduced significantly due to intensive hunting and habitat loss. Miss Nu persuaded Mr. Tuan that this turtle should be transferred to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park with the hope that the turtle can become an important part of the breeding efforts for the species at the centre. Ultimately the animals of this assurance colony and their offspring will be released back into in the wild some time in the future.

“This is clearly a positive outcome from the student training course, and we realize that the training is worthwhile, and shows that we are on the right track.” said Vo Si Lam, the ATP field office who picked up the turtle at Mr. Tuan's house.

The turtle is now being cared for by ATP staff in Quang Ngai before it will be transferred to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park.


Press release by Vo Si Lam


15th December 2012

Cultural depictions of turtles in Vietnam

Many legends of Vietnam connect closely to the turtle. One legend told that Kim Quy Deity (Golden Turtle Deity) came into sight and crawled after An Dương Vương's pray. Following the Deity's foot prints, An Dương Vương built Cổ Loa Citadel as a spiral. Kim Quy Deity also gave him a claws used to make the trigger of the crossbow which was the military secret of victory aggainst Zhao Tuo. A 15th-century legend tells that Lê Lợi returned his sacred sword named Thuận Thiên (Heaven's Will) to Golden Turtle in Lục Thủy lake after he had won Ming's army. That is why Lục Thủy lake was renamed Sword Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Gươm) or Returning Sword lake (Hoàn Kiếm Lake). This action symbolizes taking leave of weapons for peace.

Additionally, in Vietnamese culture, turtle was traditionally considered a symbol of longevity and everlastingness, therefore the 82 stone stele records of imperial examinations of the Lê and Mạc dynasties were created in the form of tortoise-mounted tablets.


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