Vietnamesevietnamese Englishenglish  


Fishermen using technology to assist conservation monitoring in rural Vietnam

A sign of the times perhaps how quickly technology is advancing. On the 4th of January 2014 Mr Nguyen Van Hai was out fishing on Dong Mo lake in Kim Son commune, Son Tay district. The lake is most famous for the giant Swinhoe's softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) that inhabits the murky waters of this extensive lake. On this occasion he saw the turtle just over 30 metres away from him surface, estimating the animal at around 100kg he was able to snap photographs on his mobile phone as it surface 4-5 times over the course of the next hour.

Knowing that a team from the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) work on the lake he provide his photos to the research team. This case shows how new technology can help research and monitoring of wildlife, in the wild or trade.

Although regularly seen by local fishermen working the lake it is rarely photographed. The species is critically endangered with only four animals known in existence, although the photos taken by Hai are grainy it is likely this animals is the same large individual photographed a number of times by the ATP and which was also rescued after escaping during a dam break in 2008.

Press release by Nguyen Tai Thang – ATP

Date: 14th January 2014

Download this press release PDF here: English pdf

Download this press release PDF here: Vietnamesepdf

Photographs taken on the mobile phone of Nguyen Van Hai, a local fisherman, show the giant turtle surfacing close by on the 4th of January 2014

Photo above: The Giant softshell turtle was first photographed in 2007 by Nguyen Xuan Thuan – ATP, this was the first photograph of the species in the wild


Following a dam break in November 2008 the Rafetus swinhoei in Dong Mo lake escaped but was successfully rescued by local authorities and returned to the lake.

Dong Mo lake is a beautiful setting, a large lake up to 1,400ha in size when full it can be difficult to locate the secretive turtles

It is more common to see the smaller Chinese Softshell Turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis) which are often caught by local fishermen.


Thank you:


Columbus Zoo and the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) for supporting monitoring of Dong Mo lake and other Rafetus activities. We would also like to thank Hanoi Fisheries department and Son Tay Forest Protection Department (FPD) for their cooperation in conservation activities. And of course we would like to thank Hai for thinking of us when taking his photos.


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


For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) - Indo-Myanamar Conservation
Office: Room#1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha building, To Huu street,
Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: +84 (0) 4 7302 8389



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

Also in the News Vietnam

Other information that might be of interest to you follow this link

Support the Program

For more information on supporting the Asian Turtle Program please contact us