The Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) is an endemic specie, found only in the lowlands of central Vietnam from Da Nang city to Phu Yen province. Although the species is fully protected under Vietnam’s principal wildlife protection law, Decree 32/2006-ND-CP and Decree 160/2013-ND-CP, illegal hunting and trade still remains as significant threats to the Vietnamese Pond Turtle. Within its natural range, Binh Minh Commune, Binh Son District of Quang Ngai province is one of the best remaining natural habitat where local people continue to report catching the species. Since 2008, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) has been conducting various activities in order to raise awareness of local people toward the threats facing this turtle species and the importance to its protection. Activities such as community football matches, awareness signboards and annual secondary school programs have all played a part.
The first football competition was held in 2012, this is the second football competition held for Binh Minh Commune. From the 5th to 16th August 2015, the ATP in corporation with Binh Minh Commune held the games in two areas of the commune, with the participation of nine teams from four villages. Along with exciting competitive game play the 2015 football matches were also the first year where Mauremys annamensis protection agreements were given to players, spectators, and others from the local community to sign voluntarily. In total, there were 193 local people pledged not to harm or hunt the Vietnamese Pond Turtle as well as others wildlife. We hope that by signing the agreement, the hunting activities of turtle will be reducing in the near future.
The Mauremys annamensis protection agreement is a document including information about the Vietnamese Pond Turtle in Binh Son district and lists the actions that people should do to protect turtle as bellow:
- No hunting of the Vietnamese Pond Turtle as well as other species
- No trading any turtles, buying or selling.
- No used of harmful fishing methods that are dangerous for turtles, including explosives, Electric shocks, Chinese trap, etc.…
- Contact the ATP staff or local rangers when seeing any trade, hunting or information about turtles in their area.
After 11 days of excited competition, Nhat Tay team of Tan Phuoc village and Nhi Long team of Nhi Long village were at first and second place respectively.
We would like to thank the Critically Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), IUCN, The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) and Rotterdam Zoo as well as Binh Minh commune for their support of this activity.
Press release by: Nguyen Thanh Luan – ATP
Date: 22nd September 2015