Turtle conservation project needs funds
  • | VNS | May 11, 2011 02:38 PM

A project to save the rare Vietnamese pond turtle in the central province of Quang Ngai has yet to get off the ground due to lack of funds, said Nguyen Van Hang, head of the provincial Forest Protection Department.

The Pond Turtle Conservation project has received a USD20,000 grant from the Asian Turtle Preservation Programme in Binh Son District\'s Binh Khuong Commune.

However, the project has been put on hold because there is not enough money to compensate villagers for the loss of farming land.

"We are calling for more capital to compensate local people here so they can continue to work the land," Hang said.

The 35-hectare area earmarked for the conservation programme has ideal conditions for pond turtles, he said.

Pond turtles are listed by conservation groups as needing special care and protection. They live in wetlands only in Danang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen but are threatened by urbanisation, which is destroying their natural habitat.

The conservation area would include different zones to encourage turtles to remain and breed.

Under the project, wildlife officials will boost public awareness of the need to protect endemic species, while training local authority staff on conservation.

About 100 pond turtles (Annamenys annamensis) currently being reared at Cuc Phuong National Park\'s Turtle Conservation Centre will be introduced to the designated conservation area in Binh Khuong Commune when the site has been made ready, Hang said.

The rare turtles are only found in Vietnam\'s central region. They were thought to be extinct in the wild until a few were discovered in the coastal wetlands of central Quang Ngai Province in 2006.

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