Confiscation of endangered box turtles in Ha Nam province, Vietnam

Four critically endangered Indochinese Box Turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), and one endangered Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii) in the shipment. As can be seen most of the animals are juvenile. Photo by: Alex Marie Hughes.

On the 20th of October, 2016, the Police of Duy Tien district, Ha Nam province, south of Hanoi confiscated four critically endangered Indochinese box turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), two endangered Chinese stripe-necked turtles (Mauremys sinensis), one endangered Keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii), and 7 Oldham’s leaf turtle (Cyclemys oldhamii) being transported illegally by one woman on the regular coach from Ha Tinh to Hanoi. In addition, this shipment also included three geckos (Gekko gecko), one Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and one King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah).

Staff from the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park were able to receive these animals which were transferred to the Turtle rescue center and pangolin rescue center of the national park on the same day. While the turtles and pangolin will remain at the rescue centres in Cuc Phuong, the geckos and King cobra will be transferred to the Hanoi Wildlife rescue center where more suitable facilities are available and staff are trained for care of these animals.

At the beginning of this year, we have anticipated that 2016 would be another busy year for tortoise and fresh-water turtle recuses. So far we have been right, with a total of 306 turtles of 16 species (including 3 exotic species) rescued to the TCC as of the 22nd of October 2016, already a 65% increase in turtles confiscated compared to the total number rescued in 2015, which saw a total of 185 turtles transferred from eight confiscations. Notably, Critically Endangered and Endangered species listed by the IUCN Red List 2016 made up 51.9% of turtle transferred to TCC in 2015. Including 46 Indochinese box turtles (Cuora galbinifrons), 9 Bourret’s box turtle (Cuora bourreti), 36 Keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii) and 49 Chinese stripe-necked turtles (Mauremys sinensis).

A primary role of the Turtle Conservation Centre is the receiving of confiscated animals for rehabilitation and integration into captive assurance populations or for release back into the wild. With so many animals coming in it is hoped that in 2017 some turtles can be released back into the wild where they ultimately belong but to make this possible we will need additional support. The ATP and TCC are hoping funds can be raised to undertake a number of monitored releases to see if these animals will survive after their rescue, rehabilitation and release.

If you would like to support future confiscation and release activities by the TCC and ATP/IMC please contact us at: or make a payment through PayPal using the same Email address. Visit the website to donate:

We would like to thank all those who have offered support to the TCC and ATP for rescues in the past year, including the World Land Trust, Bristol Zoo, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ), the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and the National Capital American Association of Zoo Keepers (NCAAZK). We would also like to thank all the authorities that have been successful in rescuing tortoise and freshwater turtles.

Press release by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC & Hao Do Thanh – TCC of Cuc Phuong National Park
Date: 22nd October 2016

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