4 endangered Keeled box turtles (Cuora mouhotii) transferred to the TCC after student training

A Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii).

On the 27th March 2014 during the annual Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Field Skill Training Course held in Cuc Phuong National Park, the students discovered a total of 8 Keeled box turtles (Cuora mouhotii) while conducting an interview survey practical in SAM2 village in the buffer zone of Cuc Phuong National Park. In their interview they found out that the turtles were caught while the locals were collecting snails in the forest of Cuc Phuong National Park.

When TCC manager Do Thanh Hao learned of the student’s discovery he decided to visit Dinh Van Lam, a local that the students reported was keeping five Keeled box turtles at his house. However, when TCC staff arrived at Mr Lam’s house to see if the local would transfer the turtles to the TCC, they found that only four turtles remained. Mr Lam said that the fifth had died and he only agreed to transfer one of the turtles, the smallest of four, to the TCC. The other three turtles he wanted to keep as pets. Mr Hao presented a TCC and Asian Turtle Program hat to Mr Lam as a small thank you and in the hope of receiving the other turtles in the near future without having to report Mr Lam to the Forest Protection Department for keeping a protected species at his house.

Fortunately, Dinh Van Hau, an employee of Cuc Phuong National Park who has been working closely with the local people in the buffer zone, was able to convince Mr Lam to also hand over the three other Keeled box turtles. On the 11th of April the three remaining animals were transferred to the TCC. Since all the turtles were collected in Cuc Phuong National Park options for them are either to be released back to the forest or to establish a head-starting programme with these four Cuc Phuong natives as founders.

Date: 23rd May 2014

Press release written by Đỗ Thanh Hào and Sarah Wahl

The TCC would like to thank all supporters of their conservation efforts in 2014:

Cuc Phuong National Park, The Intrepid Foundation, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), Bristol Zoo Gardens, Phoenix Zoo, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Greenville Zoo

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