Awareness signboard for world’s rarest turtle around its only known habitat

The new signboard provides a history of the species and its importance at Dong Mo Lake.Just outside of Hanoi city, the capital of Vietnam, can be found Dong Mo Lake. A beautiful and tranquil location immediately it strikes you as such a contrast against the hustle and bustle of Hanoi life. It is also the site of the only known wild location for the worlds most endangered turtle species, Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) its well recognised as a priority site in the battle to conserve the species. With only four known living specimens the future of these giant softshell turtles remains bleak.

But on Saturday the 1st of October 2011 a new awareness signboard for the species was erected near the Nghia Son village cultural house in Kim Son commune, Son Tay district. Many local villages have shown great support in protecting the rare and famous species which lives within their lake and are proud that their homes support the only known wild population of a turtle species considered sacred in Vietnam. During the opening ceremony chiefs from seven villages around Dong Mo Lake attended along with representatives from the local People’s committee and Forest Protection Department (FPD) and schools within the area also attended. Pham Van Thong of the Asian Turtle Program said “it’s a great feeling to have so much support for the conservation work we’re doing, it makes it all worthwhile”.

Two signboards were erected at key points around the lake with an additional 16 provided to local schools and people’s committee buildings. The signboards were developed by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) to highlight the importance of the species and what local communities can do to help protect these legendary turtles, artwork form local school children also brought a personal touch to the signs.

We would like to thank all those who have supported our work and the Rafetus swinhoei Project. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Birdlife International, Columbus Zoo and the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF). As well as local partners and agencies, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), the Forest Protection Department (FPD) and the People’s Committee of Vietnam.

Press release by: Nguyen Thu Thuy
7th October 2011

Thank you:

We would like to thank all those who have supported our work and the Rafetus swinhoei Project. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Birdlife International, Columbus Zoo and the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF). As well as local partners and agencies, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), the Forest Protection Department (FPD) and the People’s Committee of Vietnam.

Image library:

Awards during one school turtle lesson

The “Lucky Turtle’ board game was played during one turtle lesson at Kim Son school

A Rafetus signboard hung on display at Nghia Son PC building

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