On the 19th of October 2010 the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of Mo Duc District in Quang Ngai province located half a dozen unattended rice sacs in Duc Lan commune. On closer inspection they found the sacs contained 19 adult Impressed Tortoises (Manouria impressa), a land tortoise normally found at high elevations in good forest throughout much of Southeast Asia. Considered vulnerable the species is increasingly suffering from illegal collection, occasional consumed in Vietnam many are also exported to Chinese markets despite being fully protected under Vietnam’s principal wildlife protection law, Decree 32 and under CITES.
Realising the species was important and protected FPD were quick to respond in confiscating the wildlife and coordinating with the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to transfer the animals to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, northern Vietnam. Nguyen Van Luc who manages ATP conservation activities throughout central Vietnam said “its good to see these animals being rescued like this, although its sad they are in the trade at least now they have a chance through the TCC to make it back into the wild one day”.
In recent year Quang Ngai province FPD have made a number of significant confiscation, including that of endemic Vietnamese Pond Turtles (Mauremysannamensis) and Bourret’s Indochinese Box Turtles (Cuora bourreti) in 2009. Playing an active and important role in protecting Vietnam’s endangered wildlife.
Written by: Dung Dinh Vuong, – Asian Turtle Program (ATP)
Date: 20th October 2010
Support for conservation activities in central Vietnam are support by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) and Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF). Although the ATP and TCC do not have specific support currently available for assisting in such rescues.