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New Program to Build Turtle Conservation Areas, Rescue Centers Approved

In order to protect endangered turtle species, the Vietnamese government recently approved a program to build three conservation areas and two turtle rescue centers.

VnExpress reports that the conservation areas will be located in Binh Son District in Quang Ngai Province, Son Tay Town in Hanoi and Dong Hoa and Tay Hoa Districts in the central province of Phu Yen. Meanwhile, two turtle rescue centers will be constructed in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and the central province of Khanh Hoa.

The program was created to protect the Vietnamese pond turtle, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, and Asian box turtles (Cuora). The first two species and a few box turtles are categorized as critically endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List. Their near-extinct status is the result of people poaching them for food or as exotic pets, as well as habitat loss and degradation caused by deforestation, urbanization, infrastructure development, and pollution.

The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is particularly endangered, as only three are known to remain alive, and they are all males. The famed Hoan Kiem Lake turtle was a member of this species.

Besides providing safe spaces to conserve the turtle species, the program will also create policies and coordinate with police and officers to combat illicit trade, transportation, exportation, and consumption of these species. The agenda also intends to protect and restore natural habitats and spawning grounds for the endangered turtles.

[Photo via Time]

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