'Extinct' giant river turtle reemerges in Vietnam

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Rare giant river turtle, thought to be extinct in Vietnam, has been discovered in a Ho Chi Minh City theme park, VietNamNet newswire reported Tuesday.


River Terrapin (Batagur baska), listed in the "critically endangered" International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, has been found in the Suoi Tien Park, the newswire said.


The turtle was found by Nguyen Vu Khoi, director of the HCMC-based Wildlife At Risk, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting biodiversity by combating illegal wildlife trade and promoting conservation of endangered species and their habitats.


A book on reptiles and amphibians, published by scientists Nguyen Van Sang, Ho Thu Cuc and Nguyen Quang Truong in 2009, had proclaimed the Batagur baska extinct in the wild.


Nguyen Dinh Cuong, head of the HCMC Forest Management Department, said his organization would conduct tests to confirm whether the turtle is indeed Batagur baska.


If found to the rare River Terrapin, the turtle would be released into the wild, said Cuong.


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