Asian Turtle Program
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Training Course Aims to
Encourage Interest in Turtles

The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in cooperation with Cuc Phuong National Park completed its fourth annual tortoise and freshwater turtle field skill training course for university students and young professionals in Vietnam . The course was held at Cuc Phuong National Park from the 8 th to 15 th of March 2008 and involved 11 students from 10 universities throughout Vietnam , as well as an Indonesian conservation biologist, Fassa Faisal, from the Bintan Laguna resort in Indonesia.

The training course is designed to provide trainees with practical skills relating to research and conservation of turtles, and combines classroom instruction with practical learning in the field.

The ATP carried out training courses annually as part of our efforts to generate interest in turtles amongst the next generation of young scientists and conservationists. “We aim is to develop a local constituency representing the long-term conservation interest of turtles,” says ATP field program coordinator, Tim McCormack. “This annual course is an important step in that process.” The ATP has carried out four similar courses in Vietnam , in addition to partnering with Conservation International (CI) to carry out the same field skill training course in Cambodia (2006) and Myanmar (2007).

The course was instructed by Tim McCormack of the ATP, Bui Dang Phong, manager of the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center (TCC), and assisted by two graduates of the 2006 field skills training course, Nguyen Duc Luong, currently employed by the ATP as a field officer developing a conservation program for the critically endangered Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) in central Vietnam, and Hoang Van Thai, staff of the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park.

Due to the number of applicants that applied for this year's course, an additional course will be held in June 2008. Some of the best graduates of both 2008 courses will also have the opportunity to take what they have learned and apply it in the field, co-designing and completing small projects in the field during the months following training.


28th March 2008


Download this press release PDF here: English pdf

Above: Phan Thi Ngoc Anh and Nguyen Chi Nhan get hands-on
experience learning how to identify turtles


Above: Trainee Dau Ngoc Cong examines a Heosemys grandis or a Heosemys grandis examines Cong?


Turtle Training Gallery

learn map reading skills

Above: Nguyen Chi Nhan learns map reading skills in the classroom before reinforcing these skills with a game in the forest

Above: Cuora mouhotii project officer,
Thieu Quang Quyet, provides instruction
to Hoang Thanh Tra on the use of radio
telemetry equipment

Above: ATP Mauremys field officer, Nguyen Duc Luong, provides instruction on field
survey techniques, focusing on the use
of aquatic trapping

aquatic trap

Above: During the field survey methods section, aquatic traps were set in some TCC ponds. A few turtles just couldn’t wait to get inside the traps!

Above: Tran Thi Minh Thu learns how to handle, weigh, and measure turtle eggs

Above: Cong preparing for the Turtle ID tes


Thank you:


The ATP tortoise and freshwater turtle field skill training course has been supported by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and their Shellshock campaign, as well as the Ocean Park Conservation Fund of Hong Kong and the Russell E. Training Education for Nature Program.

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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




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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)4 7302 8389

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