Collecting first ever pathogen health screening samples from wild endangered Big-headed Turtles in Vietnam
From 17th – 24th of August 2019, we have completed an eight-day-long field survey in a protected area in northern Vietnam in order to confirm the existence of the endangered Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) in the wild as well as collecting pathogen health screening samples. This activity is one of various steps to access the release strategy for confiscated Big-headed turtle in Vietnam.
Although weather condition was not great during the field survey with shower or heavy rain every day, our experienced field team were fortunate enough to set a large number of nonlethal traps and get a total of 7 turtles. Of those trapped turtles, four Big-headed Turtles were trapped along with three endangered Four-eyed Turtles (Sacalia quadriocellata). All turtles were released back to the wild once photographs and morphological data collected. Notably, we have also collected swab samples for pathogen health screening on wild turtles from those animals. These are the first ever wild swab samples from Vietnamese turtles.
We would like to thank Fondation Segré Conservation Fund and the EDGE of Existence programme and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as well as our project partners, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Paignton Zoo, Nordens Ark, and the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES) for their support to this project.