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Mid-Autumn festival at Dong Mo Lake raises
awareness to worlds rarest turtle

On the 18th of September 2013, The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) worked with Youth Union of Kim Son commune, Son Tay district, Hanoi, to organize the Mid-Autumn festival. Within Vietnam the Mid-Autumn festival is the second most important holiday after the lunar New Year and celebrates the end of the rice harvest when the moon is also at its largest.

With the message: “Happy Mid-Autumn help protect the Dong Mo turtle” seven villages from around the lake took part in the festival. Dragon dancing, folk music and games were held while traditional moon-cakes and fruits were also enjoyed. Games including the sac race, capture the duck, tug or war and water filled piñata’s.

“The game helps build up the spirit of solidarity and unity among the communes,” said one local amongst hundreds joining the games or spectating. The Mid-Autumn festival continued into the night with a musical show. Children sang a traditional song and told historic stories about the moon, Chu Cuoi (Moon-Liar) and Chi Hang (Moon Lady). During the evening a film on Dong Mo Rafetus rescue was also shown, highlighting the importance of the turtle to the communities. There were over 300 local people gathering together for this event.

Mr. Nguyen Van Quyet, chief of Youth Union, said: “We are pleased to create such an event for children. This is a happy Mid-Autumn with meaningful activities which bring joy to people here, and help them to dispel the tiredness of the rice harvest season. Moreover, the festival is properly integrated with the protection of Rua Hoan Kiem (Rafetus swinhoei) which evokes people’s pride to protect the legendary turtle of Vietnam. We are extremely glad to cooperate with you all to protect this critically endangered turtle. I’m sure that our next generations of Dong Mo people will protect the turtle better because they have clearer understanding about the turtle.”

24th September 2013

Press released by: Pham Van Thong – Rafetus Swinhoei Project Coordinator (ATP)

Download this press release PDF here: English pdf

Download this press release PDF here: Vietnamese pdf

Above: Children danced and sang during traditional music to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival

Above: Children gathered at the cultural house to celebrate the the Mid-Autumn

Photo Gallery:


Above: The Rafetus swinhoei from Dong Mo lake

Above: Banner for the event with the new Rafetus mascot design by Mr Jack Lam


Above: Over 40 participants were involved in the sac race heats

Above: One of the three winners of the blindfolded hit the water ball


Above: Capture the duck, more difficult when wearing a blindfold and wearing a turtle crown

Above: From four village teams the tug of war was won by Nghia Son village, where most of the fishermen on Dong Mo come from




We would like to thank all of the support for our work and the Rafetus swinhoei Project from The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), Birdlife International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), 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


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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metoparks 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 3519 0383




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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