85 endangered turtles back home in central Vietnam

One of the most satisfying parts of turtle conservation is getting to give turtles a second chance at life. Our rescue and release work in Vietnam does just that: returning animals that have been confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade back into the wild, in protected areas across Vietnam.

Following the successful release in earlier September 2020, we managed to plan and organise another release, the fifth of 2020 so far. Between the 24th to 26th of September 2020 85 turtles were translocated to the core zone of a protected area in central Vietnam by our field team. This release involved 35 endangered Big-headed Turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) and 50 critically endangered Bourret’s box turtles (Cuora bourreti). Those animals were successfully rescued from various illegal trade cases throughout Vietnam over the past three years and rehabilitated at the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province.

Local rattan baskets were used to carry the turtles into the jungle for release. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

The release team, comprising experienced field staff of the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC), the TCC, and local rangers had a gruelling trek up high waterfalls and steep terrain from the base camp to reach suitable release locations, spreading the animals throughout a large release site.

According to Mr. Le Phuong Trieu, Director of the Organism Rescue, Conservation and Development Center at Cuc Phuong National Park, who accompanied the release: “Over the past years, the Rescue, Conservation and Development Center has received, cared for, rehabilitated, and released hundreds of  rare animals, including tortoises and freshwater turtles. This release of turtles was the largest this year.”

The incredible hard work of the dedicated staff who rescued the turtles, cared for them at the TCC and completed the tough journey to get them back in the wild was crucial for this release and we wholly appreciate their efforts. We are also grateful to the Cuc Phuong and local partners for their support to this release, to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Thanh Truong Loc Construction Co., Ltd., and all of the donors and individuals who support our work, and to other partners who have contributed along the way.

30th October 2020
Press release by: Ha Hoang – ATP/IMC

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