One of the turtles was in a temple pond in Hoi An town were it had been kept for many years.? Another turtle was being kept as a pet in Tien Phuoc district.? Four animals were observed in the hands of a small-time trader who was able to identify two communes where he reportedly purchased the turtles.? Following this lead from the trader, interviews in two districts succeeded in finding two more turtles being kept as pets by local people.? The local people were able to identify specific sites within their commune where the turtles were collected, and the results of interviews in surrounding villages supported the assertion that Mauremys annamensis is currently presentin the area.

Based on these surveys, one commune has been selected for additional work in September or October 2006, to try and capture Mauremys annamensis in the wild.? Two other communes have been identified for which future surveys are needed.?

Principal threats to Mauremys annamensis include both habitat loss and continued hunting.? The species? apparent preference for ponds and streams in lowland areas must compete with expansion of intensive lowland agriculture.? Juveniles and adults continue to be hunted and sold into the trade where they are in most cases smuggled to China and sold as food or medicine.

Field team members: Phan The Cuong, Tim McCormack, Nguyen Xuan Thuan, and Mr. Nguyen Tri, a Quang Nam ranger One of seven live Mauremys annamensis found during a month-long survey in Quang Nam Province.

The Vietnamese government recently added Mauremys annamensis to the list of protected species.?? The Asian Turtle Program has carried out four surveys spanning three provinces in hopes of finding source areas where wild populations remain.? Once a site is found, a project will be launched aimed at protecting the species in-situ utilizing enhanced enforcement measures, awareness, and community participation in conservation efforts.?

Other valuable information was obtained on species occurring in Quang Nam Province and the current exploitation of these animals in the wildlife trade.? Seven species additional to Mauremys annamensis were observed in the trade, Sacalia quadriocellata, Cuora bourreti, Cuora mouhotii, Cyclemys pulchristriata, Pelodiscus sinensis, Platysternon megacephalum and Ocadia sinensis.

This survey was conducted by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) with cooperation of the Quang Nam Forest Protection Department (FPD) and WWF?s MOSAIC project based in Quang Nam.? With funding support from the German Ministry of Environment and the Allwetter Muenster Zoo.

Field report by Tim McCormack, Field Project Coordinator, The Asian Turtle Program

For more information contact:

Ms. Le Thanh Thuy
Asian Turtle Program Officer
C/o Education for Nature ? Vietnam
PO Box 222