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Interview surveys around protected areas in Central Vietnam, December 2007

Gia Lai is a mountainous province in central Vietnam, famous in Vietnam for its remoteness and good forest habitat. From the 9th to 20th of December 2007 the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo conducted interviews around two protected areas in the province, Kon Ka Kinh National Park and Kon Cha Rang Nature Reserve. The surveys were designed to identify turtle species which may occur in these elevated, forested areas. Of particular interest was to establish whether either Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti) or the Less Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora picturata) occurred in the area. With both species critically endangered and endemic but greatly lacking information on status and distribution.

During the survey 94 interviews were conducted in which 18 turtles of four species were observed. These included six live Big Headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum), a live Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata), two live and five shells of Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa). The Manouria impressa are often eaten locally in these remote areas due to their lower trade value. At least four other species were described but little information was recorded for either Cuora picturata or Cuora bourreti.

The observation of so many Platysternon megacephalum in this area is of particular interest as the species is rarely seen in the trade. With its high value increasing pressure on remaining wild populations despite the fact the species is fully protected under Vietnamese law.

During the return to Hanoi along the coast three live Vietnamese Pond Turtles (Mauremys annamensis) were observed in neighbouring provinces, two in Quang Ngai province and one in Binh Dinh province.

Survey conducted by:
Nguyen Xuan Thuan: Field Officer, Asian Turtle Program (ATP)
Pham Thu Cuong: Field Assistant, Asian Turtle Program (ATP)

Press Release by Nguyen Xuan Thuan


Press release 5th January 2008



























Gia LaiA shell of an Impressed Tortoise Manouria impressa which had been recently eaten


Kon Ka Kinh NP

Road in Kon Ka Kinh National Park, Gia Lai Province


Platysternon megacephalum

One of six endangered Big Headed Turtles Platysternon megacephalum seen.


Gia Lai

View into the mountains of Gia Lai Province


Thank you:


Support for the survey was provided by Bristol Zoo in the UK and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. We would also like to thank Gia Lai Forest Protection Department and People's Committee for their support in the surveys

Bristol Zoo

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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks 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 3514 9750 Ext11





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