x-ray Big-headed turtles
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X-raying Big Headed Turtles in Hanoi, Vietnam

On the morning of 21st November 2015, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam worked with the iVet clinic in Hanoi to x-ray 45 Big Headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) from the TCC. In total, from 42 live and 3 dead animals from recent confiscations X-rayed fish hooks were found in 2 dead animal and 4 live animals, some of these will need surgery to remove the hooks.

Of the animals x-rayed 23 came from a large confiscation of highly threatened turtles that were transferred from the Hanoi Soc Son rescue centre to the Turtle Conservation Center (TCC) on the 30th of September 2015 after their rescue from the illegal wildlife trade.  Additional Big Headed Turtles were being held at the TCC originating from confiscations made in Ninh Binh Province in August 2015.  As it is well noted that local hunters are using fishing hooks with bait to catch this species it was expected that some of the animals may have ingested fish hooks.

The Big-Headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red list and fully protected under Vietnam national law, Decree 32/2006/ND-CP. However, this species are still suffering from extensive illegal hunting and trade throughout its natural range. Recently, a large number of Big-Headed Turtle has been seen and confiscated from illegal trade in Vietnam which is likely further threatening the survival of this species in Vietnam.  The species is now being kept at the TCC and a project by the Centre for Rescue and Conservative Organism (CRCO) of Hoang Lien National Park in northern Vietnam with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is focusing on the species. With challenges in keeping this aggressive species together in captivity it is still critically important that projection of the species in the wild is improved and that any confiscations are transferred to equipped captive rescue centres.

Dealing with the confiscations and care has taken a lot of the ATP and TCC staff time and resources. We urgently need more support to allow to continue with the treatments and care of these animals and receive more confiscations in the future.

A big thank you to all the staff from ATP and TCC who worked the weekend to get this done and the iVet team.
If you would like to support please visit: http://www.asianturtleprogram.org/pages/support_atp.html

Press release by: Timothy McCormack
Date: 23rd November 2015

Download this press release in English here

Download this press release in Vietnamese here

X-ray Big-headed turtles

Above: An x-ray of a large fishing hook in a juvenile Platysternon megacephalum, some of the hooks seem impossibly large for the animals they are in.


TCC cage

Above: An x-ray of a large fishing hook in a juvenile Platysternon megacephalum, some of the hooks seem impossibly large for the animals they are in.


Sacalia quadriocellata

Above: Vets at the iVet clinic in Hanoi worked all morning flat out to get 50 x-rays done. Photo by: Tim McCormack - ATP


Sacalia quadriocellata

Above: Hoang Van Ha of the ATP helps prepare animals for the x-rays. Photo by: Tim McCormack - ATP


Thank you to the World Land Trust, Bristol Zoo, Zoological Society of London, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society and Turtle Survival Alliance who have all held support the rescue and treatments so far.

tcc four paws four paws
four paws four paws four paws

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For further information, please contact:
Asian Turtle Program (ATP) - Indo-Myanmar Conservation
Office: Room#1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu road, Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +84 (0) 24 7302 8389
Email: info@asianturtleprogram.org


    ATP would like to thanks the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for supporting this website
Asian Turtle Program - Indo Myanamar Conservation
Room 1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu Street, Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
PO Box 46
Phone:+84 (0) 24 7302 8389
E-mail: info@asianturtleprogram.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AsianTurtleProgram
Website: www.asianturleprogram.org

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