After a three-hour trip from Hanoi, the ENV team is at Cuc Phuong National Park this morning for the historic return of 71 endemic pond turtles to Vietnam.
A press conference is underway to mark the occasion, attended by leaders of Cuc Phuong National Park and the Turtle Conservation Center (TCC), local authorities from Ninh Binh and Quang Ngai provinces, representatives from the Asia Turtle Program, and nearly 40 journalists.
“Today marks an important step in the conservation of this rare species in Vietnam,” said Mr. Bui Dang Phong, Manager of the TCC. “Poaching, farming and habitat loss pose a severe threat to the small number of Vietnamese pond turtles remaining in the wild. It is Vietnam’s duty to actively protect these turtles from illegal hunting and trade to ensure we do not lose another precious endemic species.”
The rare Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) is found only in lowland wetlands, ponds and rivers of a few select provinces in central Vietnam. Wild populations have disappeared rapidly since the late 1980s, mainly as a result of intense hunting, smuggling and illegal wildlife trade to meet demand from consumers in Vietnam and China.
Photo: Mr. Truong Quang Bich (Director, Cuc Phuong National Park) delivered the opening speech