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Fourth football cup raises awareness to worlds rarest turtle

From the 3rd to 11th February 2014 the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metro Park Zoo and the Youth Union of Kim Son commune, Son Tay district, Hanoi held a football turtle cup to promote awareness to conserve Swinhoei Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in a stadium next too Dong Mo Lake. The lake is the only known wild habitat for the species, also considered the worlds most threated turtles species with only four animals known in existence golbally. In Vietnam Rafetus swinhoei is also famous for the individual of the species surviving in Hoan Kiem Lake, downtown Hanoi, for which a 15 th century legend links the turtle to King Le Loi's defeated of the invading Chinese empire.

After 7 days of competition Kim Chung village was victorious. Over 400 spectators gathered to watch the event with a speech given by ATP staff highlighting the status and need for protection of the legendary turtle living in Dong Mo Lake. The football cup has becoming a popular event in the local community with much of the support and organisation provided by the local government in 2014.

“This football event is a great opportunity to both build the strength of the local community but also increase the understanding of the legendary turtle living in Dong Mo Lake. We are very happy and proud to know the presence of the legendary turtle.” Mr. Nguyen Van Son, the chairman of Kim Son commune.

With over 100 reported sightings from local fishermen in 2013 it is clear that awareness around Dong Mo is having an impact. On the 4th of January 2014 one local fisherman even provided photographs of a Rafetus swinhoei he had taken on his mobile phone in the lake.


Press released by: Pham Van Thong – ATP

Date: 6th March 2014


Download this press release PDF here: English pdf

Download this press release PDF here: Vietnamesepdf

Above: Players show off their skills and enthusiasm in the final match

Above: The victorious team receives a picture of Dong Mo turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) with the message: “I Love Rua Dong Mo”

Above: A photograph from the 26th of November 2008 when a large Swinhoi's softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) was rescued and release back to Dong Mo Lake

Dong Mo football cup
Above: Spectators gathered to watch the event

Dong Mo football cup

Above: Team kits designed for the event bore the message “Let protect the legend of Vietnam –Rua Hoan Kiem”. Photo: Nguyen Tai Thang - ATP


Thank you:


We would like to thank those who have supported our Rafetus work in Vietnam. The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), Columbus Zoo as well as local partners and agencies, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), and the Youth Union of Kim Son commune who helped us to organize this successful event.


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)
Office: Room#1806, C14 Bac Ha building, To Huu road, 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

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