In March 2022, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) re-released the Vietnam Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle (TFT) Identification Book, including information on two new species, updates on the maps of species’ distributions, updates on species’ conservation status and recently introduced wildlife protection laws.
This book serves as a vital resource to many, allowing them to identify and distinguish between Vietnam’s 26 native TFT species. This assists in handling turtle violations and placing the turtles appropriately in wildlife rescue centers or releasing them back into the wild.
It was sent out to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Forest Protection Department (FPD) directors, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, legal departments, environmental police, national parks, key universities with relevant departments, and wildlife rescue centers in all 63 provinces.
The two new species introduced in this 2022 version include the Vietnamese spotted softshell turtle (Pelodiscus variegatus), which was formally believed to be the Chinese softshell, and the western black-bridged leaf turtle (Cyclemys atripons), which is a new species for Vietnam originating from Phu Quoc Island.
Of the 26 endemic turtle species of Vietnam, 15 are listed as Critically Endangered, eight are Endangered and one is Vulnerable, according to the IUCN.
This book was developed thanks to the collaboration and support of the Asian Turtle Program, Indo-Myanmar Conservation and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.