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Motorbike chase leads to the confiscation of 26 live threatened tortoise and freshwater turtle species in Vietnam

According to local language news on the 28th of June 2015 at 16:00 hours policeman were involved in a motorbike chase in which 26 lives turtles were recovered.  In the Northern Vietnamese district of Cao Loc in Lang Son province that borders with China, the police tried to stop a motorcyclist who was seen behaving suspiciously. However the motorbike refused to stop and attempted to escape, as the driver fled the left behind a container containing 26 live turtles weighing a total of 82kg. These included 19 small turtles (possibly Impressed tortoise, Manouria impressa) each of which weighed approximately 1 kg, a further seven larger black turtles wait between 8 to 12 kg each (from the photograph these appear to be yellow headed Temple Turtles, Heosemys annandalii).  Both species are fully protected under Vietnamese national law, Decree 32/2006/ND-CP which prohibits hunting, trade or consumption of the species.

It is likely that this shipment of turtles was destined for the Lang Son border area with China where they might be smuggled across into China where demand for turtles remains strong for traditional foods and medicines.

Although it was reported in the media that the animals had been transferred to Cao Loc Forest Protection Department (FPD) and might be released into the wild when the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park contacting the provincial authorities on the 30th June as soon as we became aware of the case the animals had already been sold back to traders.

Press release: Timothy McCormack - ATP

Date: 30th June 2015

Download the English version here

Download the Vietnamese version here

picture

Above: Confiscated Impressed Tortoises (Manouria impressa) and what appear to be Yellow Headed Temple Turtles (Heosemys annandalii) which were dropped from the escaping motorcycle.  Photo from: VTC News website.

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