Nature reserve to protect central Vietnamese tortoise

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Experts from an Asian turtle protection program are preparing to establish a nature reserve to protect a local tortoise in central Vietnam's Quang Ngai Province.

The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) run by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio, US, is studying the environment and interviewing local residents to locate the tortoise's home so that it can be designated as a nature reserve.

They believe Binh Son District in Quang Ngai has the best living conditions for the Trung Bo (Central Vietnam) turtle.

The animal only lives around flooded areas in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces along the coast. Their habitat has been endangered by recent development and human encroachment.

Urban development and turning forest land into farmland have been blamed for diminishing the tortoise's home.

According to experts, there are no Trung Bo turtle left in Vietnamese nature reserves. Hence it's urgent to locate their remaining habitat to preserve them.

Mature turtles will be put into the core zones at the reserve for reproduction purposes, ATP said.

The Asian Turtle Program will support the project with around US$20,000 this year. The reserve will receive some 100 Trung Bo turtles from Cuc Phuong Turtle Reserve in the north and several other places.

ATP has worked since 1998 to promote tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation.

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