Yesterday morning an informant contacted the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) to report a man who had been seen carrying three live turtles when he stopped to eat lunch at a local Da Nang restaurant. The ATP passed the news onto us at ENV and we immediately informed the local Forest Protection Department (FPD) authorities, who arrived to inspect the restaurant only half an hour later.
The three turtles were identified as a keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii) and two impressed tortoises (Manouria impressa) which are protected under Appendix II (CITES).
The man admitted he had bought the reptiles from a local resident in Quang Nam province and said he was intending to release them to the wild. The authorities warned him that trading, transporting and consuming protected wildlife are violations under Vietnamese law, and confiscated the turtles so they could be released into the wild at Ba Na Hill forest.
We commend the swift action taken by the local FPD authorities yesterday – both in educating the man about the law and its consequences, and immediately confiscating the turtles.
Photo courtesy of the informant