VietNamNet Bridge – 71 endemic Vietnamese pond turtles bred in Europe were brought home to the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park on August 19.


A rare Vietnamese pond turtle in Cuc Phuong National Park.



The turtles, which were bred at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and Germany’s Munster Zoo are the first to be bred overseas and returned to Vietnam, opening up an opportunity for protecting and conserving critically endangered species in their homeland.

The turtles have joined the more than 200 others already being kept at the TCC. All the turtles will be released into the best remaining habitat in the central province of Quang Ngai as part of the Mauremys annamensis project (MAP) managed by the Asian Turtle Programme (ATP).

The TCC’s director, Bui Dang Phong, said that Vietnam is home to 30 turtle species, representing a tenth of the world’s turtle species. The Vietnamese pond turtles (Mauremys annamesis) is one of three endemic freshwater turtle species in Vietnam, found only in lowland wetlands, ponds, lakes and rivers in some central provinces of Vietnam and particularly in Quang Ngai, Quang Nam and Phu Yen.




Director of Cuc Phuong National Park Truong Quang Bich (left) and director of Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Centre Bui Dang Phong explain the turtle’s biological characteristics.



Currently, the species is considered critically endangered in both the Vietnam Red Book and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to the rapid disappearance of the wild populations from intense poaching, illegal trafficking and habitat loss.

Therefore, the conservation and restoration of its population in the wild is the ultimate goal, Phong stressed.

Timothy McCormack, MAP and ATP Programme Co-ordinator, affirmed that the Vietnamese pond turtle is among the world’s 25 most endangered turtles, recognised globally as a priority for conservation.



Thoroughly performing check up each turtle.


Recently, 13 specimens observed around Binh Son District in Quang Ngai Province proved that the species can thrive in the wild in this locality.

McCormack added that ATP and Quang Ngai Province will co-ordinate to promote the establishment of a rescue centre and to extend the species’ natural habitat into Binh Son to allow it to live naturally in Vietnam.

In addition, ATP will continue to provide technical support to the TCC in breeding, organising public awareness, creating programmes on turtle conservation, and co-ordinating with local authorities in critical areas to rescue turtles from being hunted and traded illegally.

Source: Nhan Dan