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Endangered Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) caught, rescued and released on Cat Ba island, Vietnam

On the 2nd of June 2011 a sea turtle was sighted in the mangrove area of Phu Long Commune, Cat Ba Island, Cat Hai District in Hai Phong province of Vietnam. The turtle, estimated to be 100kg in weight, was caught by local people who intended to worship the animal in the hope it would bring good luck and prosperity.

Fortunately the People's Committee of Phu Long Commune informed local authorities and the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project who visited the family together with the Deputy chairman of Cat Hai District and officials from Cat Ba National Park on the same day. Pieter Levelink, the Deputy Project Manager of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project, had previous experience working with marine turtles identified the animal as an adult female Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and one of five marine turtle species occurring in Vietnam's coastal water it is also protected under Decree 82/2006/ND-CP limiting exploitation of the species in Vietnam.

As news quickly spread through the commune many people came to see the sea turtle and the event was aired on Hai Phong Television. Apparently an offer of 70,000,000vnd (approx. $3,366) was made from Quang Ninh province to buy the turtle. But fortunately Forest Protection Department (FPD) staff acted to confiscated the animal and taken by speedboat for release on the less populated Lan Ha Bay side of the island where the animal quickly swam away.

To learn more about the Cat Ba Langur Project please visit the link below:

10th June 2011

Press release by: Sarah Wahl of the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) with information provided by Pieter Levelink of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project.

Above: The Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) which was caught by local people on Cat Ba island

Photo by: Pieter Levelink


Above: The capture of the rare and endangered sea turtle attracted many people in the Phu Long commune

Photo by Pieter Levelink


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