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24th February 2015

Taking Down Vietnam's Marine Turtle Kingpin

On the 19th of November 2014, Vietnam’s National Environmental Police raided three warehouses in the city of Nha Trang and discovered more than 4.3 tons of dead marine turtles. A month later local police raided three additional locations connected to the same criminal network and found 4,000 more marine turtles. The combined volume of turtles seized in both raids was more than an estimated 10 tons making this the single largest seizure of marine turtles in world history.

The raids came as a result of a three-year investigation by Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a Vietnam based NGO which identified Mr Hoang Manh Cuong as the “kingpin” standing behind the network. The kingpin was protected by his brother who stepped up after the raids and accepted the responsibility. However, the story is not over. What remains to be seen is whether the justice system in Vietnam will deliver appropriate punishment to Cuong for his serious crimes, which have both national and international implications. This is an important opportunity for Vietnam to show that it can meet its global obligation to eradicate wildlife crime and the criminal organizations that engage in such activities.


6th September 2013

VTV1 Television news covers Mauremys return event (Vietnamese)

Vietnamese TV station covers historic event of 71 Vietnamese pond turtles (Mauremys annamensis) returning from Europe to Vietnam.


20th August 2013

Manouria impressa rescued by young student in Thua Thien Hue province

On 9th of August 2013, a female Impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) was successfully released to Bach Ma National Park by the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of Nam Dong district, Thua Thien Hue province

The turtle was going to be killed for food by a local man who bought it for 150,000VND (~ $7) in Huong Huu commune, Nam Dong district. Fortunately, it was saved by a young student named Phan Van Tien Loc who lives in the same commune as the man and who participated in the annual Asian Turtle Program Tortoise (ATP) Freshwater Turtle Field Skill Training Course for students in 2013. ATP in collaboration with Nam Dong FPD and Laguna company then released the lucky animal successfully back to the wild.


15th December 2012

Turtles in Vietnamese culture

Turtles are an integral part of many legends in Vietnam. One legend tells how the Kim Quy Deity (Golden Turtle Deity) presented itself to An Dương Vương, who ruled over the kingdom of Âu Lạc (now Vietnam) from 257 to 207 BC, in answer to his prayers. The Golden Turtle gave a claw which was used to make the trigger of a crossbow which was the Vietnamese armies secret weapon in their victory against Zhao Tuo, a general of Qin dynasty of China. Another 15th-century legend tells the story of King Lê Lợi who returned his sacred sword named Thuận Thiên (Heaven's Will) to the Golden Turtle in Lục Thủy lake after he had defeated the invading Chinese Ming army. The name of Lục Thủy lake was then changed to Sword Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Gươm) or Lake of the Returned Sword (Hoàn Kiếm Lake).

In Vietnamese culture turtles have also traditionally being considered a symbol of longevity and everlastingness, 82 stone stele mounted on the backs of carved turtles can be found in Hanoi’s temple of literature where they record results from imperial examinations of the Lê and Mạc dynasties from 1442 to 1779.


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