On the first day of February 2018, rangers from Song Thanh Nature Reserve, Quang Nam province in central Vietnam made a confiscation of 15 endangered Big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum). It was reported that these turtles had been illegally hunted using baited fishing hooks inside the protected area of Song Thanh Nature Reserve. Local rangers and border guards were aware of the activities and sized the local hunter as he returned from the forest.
As the confiscation involved two government agencies and the species is fully protected under national law a decision on the prosecution has taken some time. During processing, the turtles were held at headquarter of Song Thanh Nature Reserve. Following advices from the Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation, the animals were kept individually and cool. Reportedly, last Friday, (23rd February 2018), all the Big-headed Turtles were released back to the wild in Song Thanh Nature Reserve.
The confiscation and release shows that while even species protected under national law and listed in Appendix I of CITES are still under pressure in the wild the authorities are taking such crimes seriously and taking action against those involved in illegal hunting and trade activity. We would like to thank the positive and hard work of the Song Thanh rangers and the border guards for helping keep Vietnam’s wildlife safe.
Press release by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC
Date: 26th February 2018