Asian Turtle Program
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No. 2,  22th October 2011

1. Hanoi, Vietnam. After catching the giant Asiatic softshell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) the fisherman who caught it seems to be in a dilemma

SOURCE: DATE: 14th October 2011

After catching a rare Asiatic softshell turtle in the Red River, Mr. Toan's family was visited by many local people who wanted to see the giant. He received many offers by people who wanted to buy the turtle and some visitors suggested that he hold an auction to sell the turtle. However, Mr. Toan hadn’t made a decision yet. Some officers of the local authority also visited, but despite recommendations from conservation organization that the animal should be confiscated and returned to its natural habitat they could not decide a plan of action. The officers did inform Mr. Toan that the Asiatic soft shell turtle is listed in the Red Book of Vietnam, but he kept the turtle and waited for the authorities' solution. "In my whole fishing career, this is the first time I caught a giant softshell turtle. Maybe, God treasures me. I know that this individual is very important for research and breeding, and this is why I am waiting to hear from the authorities. If they can offer me a good price, I will sell it to the authorities" he said.  Note: following this article the turtle was sold to a trader for $8,000 despite wildlife protection laws prohibiting this sale in Vietnam.

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2. Hanoi, Vietnam. The giant Asiatic soft-shell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) that was caught in Hanoi was sold to a Chinese businessman for $8, 640 ( VND 180 million)

SOURCE: & DATE: 15th October 2011

According to Dr. Ha Dinh Duc the Asiatic softshell turtle that was caught under the Chuong Duong Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam is in the Red Book of Threatened Species. After receiving this information, the fisherman who caught the giant tried to keep it but claims that since he didn't get any further information from the authorities about how to take care of the turtle and the turtle started to get weak he finally decided to sell it for a price of VND 180 million ($8,640) to a Chinese businessman.

Link to this web article online: link 1

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3. Hanoi. Public crime: The Asiatic  softshell turtle that was caught in the Red River in Hanoi was finally sold and abandoned to its fate

SOURCE: DATE: 18th October 2011

The giant Asiatic softshell turtle that caused a stir this month has finally been sold to a man for VND100 million (US$4,800). The buyer later resold the turtle for VND80 million (US$3,840). This species should be protected by law and banned from the trade. It’s clearly an illegal case that has been discussed publicly, even in newspapers. Since authorities ignored this case and this special animal, it is unclear where the animal might be now. This not the first time that authorities ignored a case like this. Earlier this year local people in Quang Binh and Quang Tri province caught a seal, but nothing was done to handle this case. The seal was kept in a pond until it died. Another example of a similar case in Vietnam was that of the rock- rat (Laonastes aenigmamus) in Quang Binh, only recently described and believed rare but already for sale in rice wine for 60,000VND ($3.00).

Link to this web article online: link 1

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4. Hanoi. The giant soft-shell turtle seller can be finedS

SOURCE: DATE: 20th October 2011

The Asiatic softshell turtle that was caught in the Red River in Hanoi is on the
Red List of Endangered species and protected from International Trade under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). When Education of Nature-Vietnam (EVN) received the information about this rare giant they jumped at the chance of protecting this wild animal. EVN contacted the local authorities assist in the rescue of the giant turtle, but did not receive a response. Later, some officials stated they had not receive any information concerning this case. Even if the authorities did not take action in this case, fishing and selling wild animal is still illegal according to section 3, article 9 of national law Decree 99/2009/ND-CP.

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6. Gia Lai Province, central Vietnam. 18kg wildlife seized from an unknown source

SOURCE: 20th October  2011

Recently a police team investigating economic crimes coordinated with the traffic police in the Chi Lang area to conduct vehicle inspections on Highway 14 (Gia Lai province, Central Vietnam). A search of one car found it to be illegally transporting 18 kg of wild animals, without documentation proving legal origin. The wild animals included 10 kg of monitor lizards, 5 kg of turtles (unidentifed) and 3 kg of snakes. This case falls under the administrative violation act of transporting illegal wildlife and all goods were seized for investigation and clarification.

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6. Can Tho. Giant Asiatic softshell turtle weighing over 50kg found in Can Tho

SOURCE: DATE: 17th October 2011

Mr. Do Cong Quyen, a business man from Can Tho province in Southern Vietnam, claims that he is keeping a bigger Asiatic softshell turtle than the one caught in the Red River near Hanoi in a pond at his home. This individual is another Amyda cartilaginea, weighing 54kg, 1.2m long and 0.7m wide. Quyen said that he bought this animal from a farmer six months ago.

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7. News. Some national newspapers promote use of wildlife in Vietnam “Good medicine made from wildlife carapaces

SOURCE: 14th June 2011

A recent article from a national newspaper clearly promotes the use of wildlife products, including those of endnagered turtles. In the article it claims that species including soft-shell turtles, crabs and cuttlefish can have their shells used in popular traditional medicines.
The article even goes  as far as describing techiniques for preparing traditional medicine by soaking turtle shell in water before grilling with yellow ginger and soaking in vinegar or mixing with strong rice wine. The article also claims medicines from turtle can treat malaria, cirrhosis, asthma or infections. Such articles not only promote illegal activity by encouraging people to buy wildlife products but also blindly put faith in unfounded cures for life threatening desiases, such as malaria, for which people should be seeking hospital treatments. It shows how the media can help or hinder conservation which for some species can be the difference between extinction or survival.

Link to this web article online

8. Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Release of 18 turtles to the wild

SOURCE: DATE: 22nd October 2011

In Bac Huong Hoa natural reserve, rangers of Huong Hoa district (Quang Tri province, Central Vietnam) released 18 turtles to the wild, including 15 Striped-necked leaf turtles (Cyclemys oldhamii) and three soft-shell turtles of unknown species. These individuals were seized being illegally transported from Laos to Vietnam. Since the beginning of this year Huong Hoa district has uncovered 8 transports of illegal wildlife and seized more than 200 wildlife species with a total volume of nearly 300kg. All animals that had been seized were released to the wild again.

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