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Third boat race organised in support of the world rarest freshwater turtle.

On the 18th of May 2017, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) worked in collaboration with Hanoi Fishery Department and Kim Son Commune Youth Union to organise the third Dong Mo boat race in Son Tay district, Hanoi, Vietnam. The race was to support conservation of the world's rarest turtle, the Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei). In January 2016 the death of the legendary Hoan Kiem turtle (of the same species) in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake has left Dong Mo Lake the most important habitat for Rafetus swinhoei in Vietnam. The lake also remains the only known site for the species in the world for which only three living animals are known globally.

It has been fantastic to see the boat race gradually becoming an important cultural festival in Kim Son commune where the race is held, a key commune from which most of the fishermen working on Dong Mo Lake come. In all 31 people participated in the boat race, 25 fishermen and six local women with six heats before the men's and women's finals. In addition, more than 300 onlookers came to support the event. A newly developed Swinhoe's softshell turtle factsheet which highlighted the needs for urgent action to save this species was distributed during the event.  This year's race also drew attention from local media, with Hanoi Television filming at the event.

Date: 18th May 2017  
Press release by: Hoang Van Ha and Nguyen Tai Thang – ATP/IMC.

Download this press release PDF here: English pdf

Download this press release PDF here: Vietnamese pdf

Event report made by Hanoi Television. Source:

Dong Mo boat race

Above: Everyone was so excited to take part in the boat race as it has become one of the local community annual cultural festivals.
Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

Dong Mo fish release

Above: ATP staff are delivering ATP’s newly developed resource, the Rafetus swinhoei factsheet. Photo by: Nguyen Duc Quynh – VFU

Dong Mo boat race

Above: Approx. 300 onlookers gathered at Dong Mo to support their racers. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

Dong Mo fish release

Above: Local media firm, Hanoi Television, interviewing one local fisherman who had just completed his race. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.

Dong Mo fish release

Above: Two winners of this year race, Phung Van Phong (right) and Nguyen Thi Lieu (left) are awarded their prizes by Mr. Hoang Tien Minh (middle), Chief of Hanoi Fisheries Department. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.


We would like to thank Hanoi Fishery Department and Kim Son Commune Youth Union and seven volunteers from Vietnam Forestry University for their corporation and support in organising and running this third boat race. We hope to continue working with these local agencies to protect the Dong Mo Turtle. We would also like to thank Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ), the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), IUCN, British Chelonian Group (BCG) and Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) for supporting the activity.




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For more information please contact:

Asian Turtle Program (ATP) - Indo-Myanmar Conservation
Office: Room#1806, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu road, Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
PO Box 46
Tel: +84 (0) 4 7302 8389
Email: [email protected]



    ATP would like to thanks the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for supporting this website
Asian Turtle Program - Indo Myanamar Conservation
Room 1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu Street, Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
PO Box 46
Phone:+84 (0) 4 7302 8389
E-mail: [email protected]

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