Critically endangered turtles rescued in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam

Many of the Bourret's Box Turtles (Cuora bourreti) have good weights and we hope they can be released soon, some have serious injuries though. Photo by: Tim McCormack - ATP

A rescue of 191 threatened tortoises and freshwater turtles has arrived at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park over the weekend, arriving on the 12th May 2018. This is following an arrest of a trader by the environmental police of Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam on the 9th of May, information on the rescue coordinated through the local NGO, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV).

The case was significant as most of the animals involved were the critically endangered (IUCN 2017) Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti), with 168 individuals involved. This species is only found in central Vietnam from Phu Yen Province, north to Quang Binh Province and across into neighbouring Lao PDR. The species is easily hunted using dogs and needs good quality evergreen forest to survive. Many conservationists are very concern the species is at risk of extinction in the wild if current levels of hunting and trade continue. Much of the trade in this and other species is still heading north through Vietnam with food markets in China still the main destination for most of these animals.

The rescue also includes a number of other species, one endangered Four Eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata), 10 Lesser Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus parviformis) and 12 Eastern Black Bridged Leaf Turtles (Cyclemys pulchristriata). Some of the animals have serious injuries related to their capture and time in the trade and staff from the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) is working with the TCC to try and save as many animals as they can. What has been special about this rescue is how quick many organisations have quickly committed staff time to help prepare enclosures and provide care for the animals. The local NGO Saving Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) and the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC)

We would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who have helped support the rescue, preparation of enclosures and care so far, with Mr. Billy Tu, Ms. Tran Phuong Mai, Mr. Herbert Becker,  Mr. Joe Monahan, Four Paws – Vietnam, Saving Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC) and Pu Mat National Park all helping in the centre. Also, Drayton Manor Park and Zoo from the UK and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for supporting the rescue and care and the Environmental Police of Quang Nam Province and Education for Nature Vietnam who made the confiscation and helped coordinated the rescue.

Press release by: Jonathan Sander – ATP/IMC & Do Thanh Hao – TCC – Cuc Phuong National Park
Date: 14th May 2018

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