New Developments at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC), Vietnam

An Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) hatchling emerges in February 2014, one of over 36. Photo by: Sarah Wahl

2014 has seen many significant developments at the turtle conservation centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam. The TCC, with support from the Asian Turtle program (ATP), has made some new additions to the centre.  One of the new pieces of equipment is an incubator chiller, this specially built unit has been constructed from a modified drinks chiller with three heated incubation boxes inside. This allows for the TCC to incubate eggs at three different temperatures between 25oC and 30°C even in the summer. Normally the TCC struggles in maintaining some incubation temperatures when ambient room temperatures can easily reach over 35°C in the summer, much too high for some of the sensitive box turtle species such as Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti) and the Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii). Now these eggs can be effectively cooled.  Similarly for warmer species such as the Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) more stable conditions can also be maintained. A solar system also means that the incubator can run even during power cuts, which sometimes can last for weeks on end in the remote national park. Thank you to Rotterdam zoo and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for supporting the incubator set up.

Improvements have also been made to the aquatic hatchling building and new secure cages have been constructed, one to house a group of Keeled box turtles (Cuora mouhotii) for breeding, supported by Bristol zoo in the UK. The other secure page is being constructed for the Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) with secure, predator proof cage tops also having been built for juvenile animals, which are being maintained outdoors. This includes some of the earliest hatchlings of Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti) which are now almost reaching maturity at 10 years old. The Vietnamese Pond Turtle enclosure and juvenile enclosures have been supported by Rotterdam zoo, Munster Zoo and Herbert Becker.

A big thank you also goes to the zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Phoenix Zoo who have supported some of the critical running costs of the TCC in 2014, and who are also supporting the development of a warm room to maintain hatchlings of 2014 for overwintering through the cold months of northern Vietnam. This includes Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii) and Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti) hatchlings and over 30 Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata).

We would like to thank all those who have supported developments at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) through 2014, the Intrepid Foundation for TCC activities, Rotterdam Zoo for the incubator chiller, solar power, secures cages for Mauremys annamensis and juveniles, Bristol Zoo for the new Cuora mouhotii cage, Herbert Becker and Munster Zoo for supporting the Mauremys annamensis cage, the Zoological Society of London for facility running costs and development of a new terrestrial hatchling warm room and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for the new security systems and incubator chiller.

Date: 30th December 2014
Press release by: Do Thanh Hao – TCC & Timothy McCormack – ATP

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