From the 16th to 17th of December 2015, a special enforcement-training course was held in Thanh Hoa province, northern Vietnam, for 25 wildlife protection agency staffs, including Forest Protection Department (FPD), Environmental Police and Border Guards. The two-day course on ‘Law enforcement training to strengthen protection of rare and endangered reptiles in Vietnam’ was designed to focus on priorities tortoise and freshwater turtle species occurring within the province, as well as identifying priority sites for the conservation of turtles in the province. The training was organized by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park.
The first day was lecture based covering threats, species identification and laws. In addition a special presentation focused on the worlds rarest turtles, the Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) and findings of interview surveys along the Ma and Chu river in the province from 2010-2011. Other priorities highlighted for the province were the critically endangered Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) and endangered big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) and Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii). On the second day of training, a visit was made to Thong Nhat town, Yen Dinh District where a complex wetland area with potential for Rafetus swinhoei and two endangered aquatic turtle species, the Chinese Stripe-necked Turtle (Mauremys sinensis) and the Yellow Pond Turtle (Mauremys mutica). During the visit to the complex wetland area, Pham Van Thong of the ATP gave an introduction to the area highlighting the threats facing the wetland, with agricultural conversion currently happening at an alarming rate.
Following the training law enforcement, officials in the province will be better equipment with the information they need to ensure greater focus and protection of threated tortoise and freshwater turtles in this important province.
We would like to thank the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the IUCN for support this training and Thanh Hoa provincial Forest Protection Department, Environmental Police and Boarder Guards for their enthusiastic participation.
Press release by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC
Date: 18th December 2015