During late May and early June the Asian Turtle Program’s (ATP) carried out interview surveys in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai . The surveys were part of ongoing efforts by the ATP aimed at identifying localities in central Vietnam where the Vietnamese pond turtle, Mauremys annamensis , remain in the wild.
The surveys focused on six low lying coastal districts in the province where the landscape is similar to habitat where the species has been reported and found in Quang Nam province, just north of Quang Ngai. Preferred habitat appears to be ponds interspersed amongst rice fields or close to slow moving rivers and streams where adjacent bamboo stands offer shelter to the species during the dry season.
During the survey, 88 interviews were conducted with local residents, fishermen, and others with knowledge of the area. The field team recorded 36 trade records for turtles of seven species including six live specimen records for Mauremys annamensis, reportedly originating from the same district of Binh Son. Two of the Mauremys specimens were observed locally in close proximity to a pond where they both were reportedly caught.
The Mauremys annamensis Project (MAP) was founded in 2007 and is based in Quang Nam province, where a team lives and works at the site where the first confirmed field record in 67 years for the species was documented during surveys in late 2006. The ATP plans to expand conservation activities into Quang Ngai, looking for additional sites where the species may still be found, and working to identify a site that is suitable for developing an ATP reintroduction and breeding program for the species.
The survey was conducted by Tim McCormack, ATP research Coordinator, Nguyen Xuan Thuan, ATP Vietnam coordinator, Nguyen Duc Luong, MAP Conservation Officer, and Vo Sy Phi of the Quang Ngai Forest Protection Department.
19th June 2008
Press release by Tim McCormack (Asian Turtle Program)
Support for the survey was provided by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Conservation International.