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No. 94, 23rd August 2013

1. Vietnam: Cuc Phuong National Park received 71 endemic Vietnamese pond turtles

DATE: 19th August, 2013

The Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park has today welcomed home 71 endemic Vietnamese pond turtles (Mauremys annamensis) after a long journey from Europe, where two zoos have been breeding the critically endangered species. Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and Münster Zoo in Germany have partnered with the TCC and Cuc Phuong National Park to bring the turtles home. This is the first time a large group of turtles from a European breeding program has been returned to Vietnam. The 71 turtles will join more than 200 of their relatives already being kept at the TCC, all of which have been confiscated from the illegal trade, handed in by volunteers, or bred at the TCC rescue centre. The ultimate goal will be to return the turtles to their best remaining habitat – Quang Ngai province in central Vietnam – as part of the Mauremys Annamensis Project (MAP) managed by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP). Timothy McCormack, MAP and ATP Programme Co-ordinator, pointed out during a press conference in Cuc Phuong National Park that the Vietnamese pond turtle is among the world's 25 most endangered turtles and is globally recognized as a priority for conservation. He added that the ATP and Quang Ngai province will co-ordinate to promote the establishment of a rescue centre and to extend the species' natural habitat into Binh Son and secure a secure wild habitat for the species in Vietnam. In addition, ATP will continue to provide technical support to the TCC in breeding, organising public awareness, creating programmes on turtle conservation, and co-ordinating with local authorities in critical areas to rescue turtles from the illegal wildlife trade.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)



2. Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam: Leatherback sea turtles coming nearer the verge of extinction

Follow-up Bulletin No. 92

SOURCE: – DATE: 21st August, 2013

On the 24th of June, 2013, a leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) came onshore to lay eggs in front of a seafood restaurant at Bai Dai beach (Thuy Trieu hamlet, Cam Hai Dong commune, Cam Ranh city). Witnessing the turtle coming on shore, Nguyen Ngoc Tan took on the responsibility of monitoring the nest and notifying the authorities when the eggs would hatch. They were expected to hatch after 56 days . On the 20 th of August 2013, when the eggs still did not hatch, Chu The Cuong from the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources decided to examine the nest. He was disappointed to find that the eggs were not fertilised and that the eggs would not hatch. According to Cuong, sea turtles in Vietnam are increasingly rare and endangered, especially the leatherback sea turtle population is believed to have decreased by 99%. One of the reasons for this population decline is overfishing which results in the absence of male animals, decreasing the mating chance. Leatherback sea turtles are one of 5 species in Vietnam listed as critically endangered. “It has been ages since the last animal came onshore to lay eggs. Also, there has been no successfully hatched nest so far. We put our hope in this nest but miracle just don't happen. The species is now on the verge of extinction. The protection, though difficult, requires great efforts from everyone,” Cuong added.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© Nguyễn Chung

3. Quang Ninh province, Vietnam: Coach trafficking 90 big-headed turtles to border seized

SOURCE: – DATE: 21st August, 2013

On the evening of the 20th of August, 2013 police of Quang Ninh province examined a coach on the national highway 18 and discovered 90 live big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) with unknown origin. The coach was en route from Ha Long City to Mong Cai City. The turtles were then transferred to the Forest Protection Unit of Cam Pha district for further investigation and handling.

ATP NOTE: unfortunately turtles are very rarely transferred for conservation purposes from Quang Ninh province and are more likely to be sold back or released.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)

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