x-ray Big-headed turtles
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Largest confiscation of

endangered big-headed turtles

in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam

On the 05th November 2016, Economic police of Quang Ninh province, near the border with China in northern Vietnam, confiscated 105 big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) and 149 Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) weighing 738kg in total along with 172kg of pangolin scales (unidentified species). The shipment was being illegally transported in a refrigerated truck (number plate 92C-09397) from Quang Nam province to Mong Cai border gate. An initial investigation revealed that these animals were loaded in Nghe An and Ha Tinh province in central Vietnam.

On the same day, 89 live big-headed turtles with an estimated weight of 40kg and 12 pangolins weighing 51kg were transferred to the Hanoi wildlife rescue centre (Hanoi RC) in Soc Son district, on the outskirt of Hanoi. Unfortunately, 16 big-headed turtles and 137 pangolins could not make it to the rescue centres due to the poor keeping condition during the illegal trade.

On the 9th of November the surviving 74 Big-headed Turtles have been transferred to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park. The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) has worked to prepare equipment and the quarantine facilities to support the rescue.  But with already over 180 animals confiscated in the past few months in the quarantine station and a total of over 1,000 animals in the centre our facilities are stretched. We hope that in the spring of next year we can undertake releases of some of these animals.

But right now a focus will be on these new animals which are already very weak and will need immediate care and support if they are to survive.   

The recovery will be long and costly and will require additional resources to stabilize, treat, and save these animals. If you would like to support care and rehabilitation of these animals, or support our release plans for 2017 please contact us at: info@asianturtleprogram.org or you can make a donation at: www.asianturtleprogram.org/pages/support_atp.html.

Please remember even a small donation of $10 - $50 will go a long way.

Press release by: Hoang Van Ha - ATP/IMC & Do Thanh Hao – TCC.
Date: 09th November 2016

Download this press release in English here

Download this press release in Vietnamese here

big-headed turtle confiscation

Above: All turtles were wrapped in cloth bags, stacked in a polystyrene box heading to the Mong Cai border gate between Vietnam and China. Photo by: Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre


Big-headed turtles

Above: The Big-headed Turtle is considered endangered on the IUCN red-list 2015 and protected under Vietnamese national law, Decree 32/2006 ND-CP as well as listed in Appendix I by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Photo by: Pham Van Thong – ATP/IMC.


Big-headed turtle transfer

Above: Staff of ATP, TCC and Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre at the transfer preparing the animals to be sent to Cuc Phuong. Photo by: Pham Van Thong – ATP/IMC.


Big-headed turtles

Above: Many of them were not able to make it to the Turtle Rescue Centre, 31 of them were death due to the poor keeping condition during the illegal trade.
Photo by: Pham Van Thong - ATP/IMC.


Big-headed turtles

Above: The most magnificent animal in the shipment must have lived happily in the wild for decades, hopefully, it can be in the wild again next year.
Photo by: Pham Van Thong – ATP/IMC.


We would like to send our appreciation for those who have offered supports to the TCC and ATP for rescues in the past year, including the World Land Trust, Bristol Zoo, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ), the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and the National Capital American Association of Zoo Keepers (NCAAZK). We would also like to thank all the authorities, especially Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre for their successes in rescuing tortoise and freshwater turtles.

World land trust Bristol Zoo four paws
WCSfour paws four paws NCAAZK

Support Our Conservation Activities, if you would like our program and activities please visit our donations page or click the donate button


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
PO Box 46
Tel: +84 (0)24 7302 8389
Email: info@asianturtleprogram.org


Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) - Cuc Phuong National Park
Nho Quan Dist., Ninh Binh Prov., Vietnam
Tel: +84 (0) 30384 8090
Email: haodt.turtleconservation@gmail.com


MBZ ATP would like to thanks the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for supporting this website
Asian Turtle Program - Indo-Myanmar 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

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