It was a good feeling to see rescued animals make it back into their natural environment. On the 26th of November 2017 we undertook a small release of endangered keeled box turtles (Cuora mouhotii) in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam. The six animals chosen for release were selected as part of a plan to reduce the overall population of the species at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in the park. The group included a pair of animals that have just completed the quarantine period and were now in good health, a female who had hatched at the TCC back in 2009, and an old resident, a long-term captive male who had been rescued in 1999. Ho Phuc Thien, the head keeper from the TCC, has been looking after this old male since 2002 and came along with us to release him. Dr Mike Selig from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also came along to join us on this release.
The TCC is now only keeping a small breeding group of Keeled Box Turtles for assurance breeding purposes. Our long-term objective is to reduce the overall animals at the TCC through releases planned in 2018 to get animals back into the wild, allowing us to focus on more rescues, rehabilitations and releases. For highly threatened species we intend to keep assurance breeding populations managed through stud books to allow for future releases and to protect against complete extinction if the species should disappear from the wild altogether.
Press release by: Timothy McCormack – ATP/IMC
Date: 27th November 2017
We would like to thank Cuc Phuong National Park, and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for supporting this work and the donors who make the rescues and releases possible.