Threat assessment for the critically endangered Bourret’s box turtle in Bach Ma National Park, central Vietnam

Hunting and overcollection is a major threat to the survival of many of Asia’s tortoises and freshwater turtles but is closely tied to local communities living around wild turtle habitats. Solutions for the conservation of these endangered species must consider potential impacts on these communities. As such, from 23rd to 27th of March 2021, a team of the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and Bach Ma National Park conducted an interview survey using questionnaires. The interview survey was designed to access the historical and current levels of illegal hunting and trade of the critically endangered Bourret’s Box Turtle (Cuora bourreti), as well as local communities’ knowledge and attitude toward the conservation of the species in Bach Ma National Park buffer zone. A total of 22 local hunters, rangers and retired traders at six communes and town of two districts (Phu Loc and Nam Dong) were interviewed. In addition, three live turtles were also observed at local households, comprising one Cuora bourreti, one endangered Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii), and one endangered Oldham’s Leaf Turtle (Cyclemys oldhamii). The initial findings will be used to design and implement broader interview surveys to assess awareness and attitude of local communities toward the Bourret’s box turtle which will, in turn, support the development of relevant outreach activities in the near future to protect this important turtle species in Bach Ma.

We would like to thank the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ), Banyan Tree Global Foundation and Bach Ma National Park for their support to this survey.

Date: 10th May 2021
Press release: Ha Hoang & Jack Carney – ATP/IMC

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