Critically endangered Vietnamese Pond Turtle returned to its native homeland
A critically endangered Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) has headed back to its home range in Vietnam after being cared for in the KFBG for three and a half years. This turtle, endemic to just a small part of central Vietnam has significant conservation value as the number of adult animals in the wild continues to decline. She was discovered by a member of public in Tai Mei Tuk and delivered to our KFBG Wild Animal Rescue Centre in mid-2015. Health and admission check found her to be a mature female of around 15-years old. Her high conservation value meant we tried hard to search for a permanent home for her where she could contribute to the conservation of her species.
Fortunately, the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Centre in Vietnam has agreed to include her in their turtle conservation breeding program that aims to eventually release animals back into the wild in Vietnam. The facility is excited to receive another recruit into their program.
Listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red list in 2000 because it’s an extremely scarce species in Vietnam and numbers are still dropping in the wild, the greatest threat to its survival is the so-called “Asian Turtle Crisis”- the expansive international trade in Asian chelonians for food, traditional medicine, and pets. Surviving populations continue to be threatened by intensive collection efforts. Another major threat is habitat destruction due to intensive rice cultivation and urbanization to meet the needs of the increasing population.
This is the second time we (KFBG) have sent this species to join this program in Vietnam. Last time was in 2006, two adults and 32 offspring were repatriated to their home range in Vietnam and helped form part of the core of the Vietnamese breeding group. We hope our conservation effort can help save this species from wild extinction.
How can you help endangered wildlife:
1. Do not buy endangered wildlife.
2. Do not support Mercy Release. Uncontrolled trade in the wild animals for release could have impacts on natural populations – lowering their number from their natural area. Also, the released animals can threaten the survival of native wildlife. They may spread diseases and pass parasites to native animals in nature.
3. Report suspected illegal wildlife trade activities to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department at 1823. For enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find more information about this Turtle Conservation Centre here: http://www.asianturtleprogram.org/project_page/tcc-home-page.html