Training to improve captive management skills for tortoises and freshwater turtles in Vietnam’s rescue centres

Tim McCormack explained to the trainees about different cages designs and habitat management to meet specific and different environment requirement of different species. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

From the 03rd to 06th March 2017, six keepers and veterinary staff from three rescue centres (including the Center for Rescue and Conservative Organism (CRCO) of Hoang Lien National Park; Me Linh Biodiversity Station of the Institute Of Ecology And Biological Resources (IEBR) and the Wildlife Rescue Centre of Pu Mat National Park) in Vietnam gathered in Cuc Phuong National Park to take part in the three-day long Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle (TFT) Captive Management Skill Training Course.

The course was hosted by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) in collaboration with the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of the National Park. During the training workshop, a combination of theoretical and practical sections were presented, including turtle evolution and ecology, turtle identification, nesting and reproduction and other captive management specific skills such as cage design and construction, enclosure management, diet and feeding, cleaning and security, record keeping, as well as turtle veterinary related treatment.

This is the first ever workshop coordinated for four different rescue centres (including the TCC) who are rescuing and keeping endangered TFT at their facilities. Beyond knowledge and skills gained from the training it was also an important opportunity to develop the network between the different centres and organisations that will help facilitate communication and placement of animals in the future.
This training course was fortunate to have Dr. Bonnie Raphael, former senior Veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, New York, USA, who provided essential basic guidance on treatments and triage for trade and long term captive animals with other sections led by the ATP and TCC staff.

A big thank you to all the staff from all the Centres, the ATP, TCC and Dr Bonnie who worked through the weekend to learn more about turtle care.  We would also like to thank the Zoological Society London (ZSL) and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for supporting this work.

Date: 17th March 2017
Press release by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP

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