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Interview surveys in northern Vietnam look for remaining Swinhoe’s softshell turtles in the wild

From the 15th of October 2018, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) team is spending 10-days in the field to collect information on the existence of the world’s rarest turtle species, the Swinhoe’s softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in Lai Chau province, northern Vietnam. Following the Da (Black) River, 91 interviews have been completed so far, with 15 trade records for shells and live turtles turtles of three species recorded.

For Rafetus we have heard of a number of historical records, with sightings and hunting of the species about 10 years ago. However, since the Son La hydroelectric was dam completed in 2009, those animals have no longer been seen along the stretch of Da River above the dam. The interviewees also claimed that there was no giant softshell turtles caught recently, but with a massive area of valleys now flooded it is possibly that some Rafetus have survived and are now difficult to locate in these expansive sections of remote river.

We would like to send our special thanks to Nguyen the Tuan of Bac Giang University of Agriculture and Forestry and Nong Van Luong of the Vietnam National University of Forestry for joining us on this interview survey as volunteers. We also thank Lai Chau Forestry Protection Department for their support for this survey.

We would like to thank the Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MoNRE), Fisheries Department and Forest Protection Department (FPD), the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Ohio, USA (CMZ), the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), IUCN, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), British Chelonia Group (BCG), the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ), Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCF), as well as all individuals for their continuous supports to the Rafetus project.

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Press release by: Hoang Van Ha - ATP/IMC
Date: 24th October 2018

Download the English version here

 

Lai Chau interview survey

A view of the Da River, historical habitat of Rafetus in Lai Chau province where some animals might still survive. Photo by: Nguyen Tai Thang – ATP/IMC

 

Lai Chau interview survey

Nguyen The Tuan of Bac Giang University of Agriculture and Forestry collecting morphological measurements of an adult Keeled box turtle during Lai Chau Interview survey. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation
Office: Room#1806, CT1, C14 Bac Ha building, To Huu street,
Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam

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MBZ ATP would like to thanks the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for supporting this website
Asian Turtle Program - Indo-Myanmar Conservation
Room#1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu Street, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
PO Box 46
Phone:+84 (0) 24 7302 8389
E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AsianTurtleProgram

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