May 26, 2006

New Wildlife Protection Law in Vietnam

In March 2006, a new wildlife protection law was passed in Vietnam affording greater protection to a few of Vietnam?s freshwater turtle species.  Decree 32 lists protected wildlife in one of two groups.  Group 1B includes fully protected species that may not be bought, sold, transported, advertised, or possessed without a permit from the national government. Commercial trade of Group 1B species is prohibited.  Group 2B-listed species receive the same protection as Group 1B species, however commercial trade is only ?restricted? meaning that the government may issue permits under certain circumstances allowing commercial exploitation of Group2B-listed species. 

Group 1B species include:
Three-striped (Golden) box turtle (Cuora trifasciata)

Group 2B species include:

Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis)
Giant Asian pond turtle (Heosemys grandis)
Yellow-headed temple turtle (Hieremys annandalii)
Big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum)
Impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa)

A total of seven of Vietnam?s 25 tortoise and freshwater turtle species are specifically listed as protected under the new law.  All other turtles receive ?general? protection under laws that prohibit exploitation of wild animals without permits. 

Of interest in the new law is the new inclusion of the Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis), one of three endemic species native to Vietnam, the impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa), and the big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum).  All three of these species are new to the protected species list.  Also, absent from the list (listed under the previous wildlife protection law, Decree 48) were elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) and giant Asian soft-shell turtle (Pelochelys cantori - listed as P. bibroni).

Marine turtles have also been removed from the new law and list of protected species following the division of responsibilities between the Forest Protection Department and the Ministry of Fisheries.  Protected marine wildlife is now listed under Decree 59 of May 2005, and marine turtles are included on this list.

For more information contact:

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