April 18, 2006

Big-headed turtles seized on Vietnam-Cambodia Border

On April 18, 2006, a border patrol team stationed in Ngoc Hoi District of Kon Tum Province discovered an illegal shipment of 45 big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) while patrolling the Vietnam-Cambodia border. 

According local authorities, the turtles originated in Cambodia and were brought over into Vietnam in backpacks by two Kon Tum men.  The border patrol apprehended the suspects as they moved the turtles through Sa Loong Commune in Ngoc Hoi District in Kon Tum Province. 
The commune lies within the buffer zone of Chu Mom Ray Nature Reserve, where the turtles were later released.  The two Kon Tum men reportedly face criminal charges.  Platysternon megacephalum is listed as protected under group IIB of Vietnam?s new wildlife protection law, Decree 32 prohibiting exploitation and trade of the species.  The species is also listed on Appendix II of CITES and may not be transported across international borders without a CITES permit. 

One interesting aspect of this case is that Platysternon megacephalum is not currently confirmed as present in Cambodia, though it has long been suspected to occur in the northeastern region of the country.  Later this year, the BP-supported Cambodian turtle team will conduct surveys on the Cambodian side of the border in search of Platysternon megacephalum and Cuora bourreti, another species suspected but unconfirmed for Cambodia. 

The information contained within this report was provided by Education for Nature ? Vietnam (ENV) and their Wildlife Crimes Hotline and Monitoring Unit. 

ATCN Staff