Dr. Paul Calle, a veterinarian with WCS works with TCC coordinator Bui Dang Phong during training aimed at helping the park improve health care and management of the turtles maintained at the center.

What's New

Seven more Mauremys annamensis hatchlings were found in the free-ranging breeding enclosure during the month of October bringing the total of births to 15 for 2004. This year’s births were down from 23 in 2003, partly as a result of the unexpected loss of two females. October also yielded seven additional Cuora ambonensis and 16 Cyclemys pulchristriata hatchlings.

The TCC participated in a TRAFFIC training program for Chinese and Vietnamese Customs officers during which they received training on basic turtle identification technique (May 2004).

A training program for Quang Binh wildlife protection authorities was carried out during which an inspection force was training to identify turtles in the trade in preparation for a planned undercover operation in that province investigating traders (May 2004).

 



The TCC has received dozens of Heosemys grandis from the illegal trade in recent years. Although most of these turtles are probably from Cambodia, they have adapted well to Vietnam’s cooler winter climate, and each year produce dozens of offspring.



Pyxidea mouhotii is a native species to Cuc Phuong National Park, and one of five focus species for the TCC.


Summary

The Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center (TCC) was established in 1998 by Fauna and Flora International. Transferred to park management at the end of 2001, the TCC serves as the flagship for efforts in Vietnam to conserve turtles. The TCC is involved in a range of conservation activities including establishment of assurance populations for five priority species, raising awareness, training of enforcement officers, research, and building interest and expertise, particularly amongst students in research and conservation of Chelonians.

The center encompasses an area of about 2,000 square meters comprised of enclosures, aquatic tanks, and specialized breeding and holding facilities for more than 600 turtles representing 15 of Vietnam’s 23 native species. A small research building hosts a laboratory, hatchery and incubation room, office, and food preparation area. A separate veterinary station and quarantine area was established outside of the center for treating sick animals and housing new arrivals.

All of the turtles maintained at the TCC are confiscated by wildlife protection authorities from the illegal trade or born in captivity at the center. Six species have been identified as priorities for developing captive breeding and assurance populations. These include:

  • Mauremys annamensis
  • Cuora galbinifrons
  • Indotestudo elongata
  • Sacalia quadriocellata
  • Pyxidea mouhotii

Specialized enclosures were established for Mauremys annamensis in 2001, yielding the first 13 offspring in 2002, and an additional 22 hatchlings in 2003. Other successes have included breeding of Sacalia quadriocellata, Indotestudo elongata, Pyxidea mouhotii, Cuora galbinifrons, and incidental breeding of Cyclemys pulchristriata, Cuora amboinensis, and Heosemys grandis.

In addition to utilizing the center as a resource for educational activities and raising public awareness, a major focus of the TCC’s program involves training of wildlife protection officers. Wildlife protection authorities from more than 35 provinces have received specialized training focused on the introducing front-line officers to the basic ecology of turtles and the critical threat to their survival resulting from the turtle trade in Vietnam. These training workshops also focus on building turtle identification skills amongst front-line enforcement officers.

Another focus of the center has been the development of a captive research program that involves basic data collection on breeding and captive ecology, as well as providing an opportunity to involve university students in research that will serve to build their interest and expertise in turtles.

Future Plans

In 2004, the TCC plans to open a section of the turtle center to some of the park’s 60,000 annual visitors as part of an initiative to enhance potential opportunities to raise public awareness about the crisis facing Vietnam’s turtles. The cost of the seven-station visitor interpretation exhibit is estimated at $13,500 USD, which includes viewing tanks, a large free-ranging basking pond enclosure, interpretive panels, photographs, and sign-boards.

For more information, contact:

Douglas Hendrie
Asia Regional Turtle Conservation Coordinator
PO Box 222
Hanoi, Vietnam
Email: dhendrie@fpt.vn

Main Focus Species: Mauremys annamensis, Pyxidea mouhotii, Cuora galbinifrons, Indotestudo elongata and Sacalia quadriocellata

Location:Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam

Administered by:
Cuc Phuong National Park

Established: 1998

Technical support provided by:

Wildlife Conservation Society

TCC Objectives

* Establishment of assurance populations for five focus species

*Raising public awareness about the threats to Vietnam’s tortoises and freshwater turtles*Training of wildlife protection authorities

*Carrying out small focused research projects on the captive behavior and ecology of turtles

*Building interest and expertise in Chelonian research and conservation




Mauremys annamensis is an endemic species found only in central region of Vietnam. Presently there are no known localities for remaining wild populations of this species. Mauremys annamensis is one of five priority species for which the TCC hopes to establish a breeding assurance population.



One of the TCC’s secure cages was recently renovated for breeding Cuora galbinifrons. The 6 x 14 square meter enclosure includes a functioning stream, with several deeper pools, a banana grove, ground plants, and leaf-litter substrate



A typical crate of turtles confiscated from traders heading for the Chinese border. The turtle trade has decreased remarkably in recent years as it has become more difficult for hunters and traders to find large numbers of turtles in the wild throughout much of Indochina.

Contact us: ATCNetwork@fpt.vn