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Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Captive Management Training at the
Turtle Conservation Centre in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

From the 22nd to the 26th of September, the Asian Turtle Program together with the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) organized a captive management training course for six participants including new ATP staff members, a Quang Ngai province Forest Protection Department (FPD) officer and a turtle field officer from the Laguna Lang Co Resort in Hue province. The 5-day long training course held at the TCC in Cuc Phuong National Park focused on management and welfare of freshwater turtles and tortoises in an ex-situ environment.

The TCC was the perfect location for trainees to learn about facility and enclosure design, diet and feeding, reproduction and nesting as well as general care and special requirements of the 19 freshwater turtle and tortoise species currently held at the centre. Practical training at the centre allowed the trainee's to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to run similar centres in the future.

Day four provided a general introduction to health issues of turtles, an important lesson not only for staff working in rescue centres but also for FPD officials dealing illegal wildlife confiscations which are often weak, injured or ill. Dr. Katherine Morgan, a volunteer veterinarian, also showed course participants, TCC manager Hoang Van Thai and ATP staff how to implant microchips in to a turtles' skin for identification and monitoring purposes.

Micro-chipping of the captive Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) population at the TCC is part of a larger project on the species for long term captive management and release back into the wild with the electronic microchips allowing lifelong individual identification of turtle regardless of where they are held or released in the future. The microchips will also identification of turtles if they ever enter the illegal trade.

The participants will hopefully use their newly acquired skills soon, as the Asian Turtle Program plans to open another turtle centre in Quang Ngai province, Central Vietnam. This centre will follow a similar design to the TCC but with a focus on rescue, care and release of Vietnamese Pond Turtles (Mauremys annamensis), a critically endangered turtle species endemic to Central Vietnam. A second centre is also planned at the Laguna Lang Co Resort in Hue Province focused on the endangered Chinese Stripped Necked Turtle (Mauremys sinensis) which has been successfully breeding at the TCC but which would benefit from a larger more focused conservation breeding effort focused on the species.

Grover Brown, the new international turtle conservation volunteer for the ATP Central Vietnam project said “The program, for me, really highlighted the intricacies that go into managing a conservation centre. It wasn't just noting cage dimensions, for example, but asking the right questions to build a proper enclosure and how we can expand the knowledge learned here at the TCC and apply it in at the site in Central Vietnam”.


Press release by Sarah Wahl – Asian Turtle Program (ATP)

Date: 28th September 2012


Above left: Ha Thi Nga, a field officer from the Laguna Lang Co Resort in Hue, taking measurements of a Southeast Asian box turtle (Cuora amboinensis)

Above right: Vo Si Lam, an ATP field officer from Central Vietnam, learning to prepare the diet for the turtles at the TCC

Above: ATP Central Vietnam staff Grover Brown and Pham Thi Thu Hien finding Elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) eggs in an enclosure at the TCC and learning how to carefully handle the eggs

Above: Dr. Katherine Morgan, a volunteer veterinarian teaching TCC manager Hoang Van Thai and ATP staff how to PIT-tag turtles

Above: Hatchling tank at the TCC - Training course participants learned the basics of hatchling tank design to keep turtles in a natural and healthy habitat that is easy to maintain and clean


Thank you:


We would like to thank the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for supporting the captive management training.

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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metoparks Zoo,
Office: Room#1302, Thanh Cong Tower, 57 Lang Ha Street,
Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: +84 (0) 4 3514 9750
Fax: +84 (0) 4 3519 0383




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

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