Rare turtle native to Vietnam born in British zoo

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A baby Bourret's box turtle, native to Vietnam and one of the most endangered species in the world, is growing well after its birth in England in July.

The turtle, named Vernon, was born at Bristol Zoo. It is now about 5 centimeters long and weighs 28 grams, news website VnExpress reported Thursday.

It has been fed with worms, and is still kept in a special care room, where humidity, temperature and air conditions are adjusted to the most suitable levels.

The new member raises the population of Bourret's box turtle at Bristol Zoo to seven. It is the second one born in Europe, after another at a zoo in Germany.

Bourret's box turtle is also known as the central Vietnamese flowerback box turtle as it can be found at swamps and flooded areas in the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Thua Thien-Hue, but also sometimes in northern provinces of Yen Bai, Vinh Phu and Hoa Binh.

It has a two-piece movable plastron and when it withdraw its head, the front piece would close, making it look like a box, thus its name.

The animal can live for 50 years, growing up to 20 centimeters in length and weighing up to one kilogram.

Poaching has reduced the box turtle's numbers remarkably in recent years. It is listed in Vietnam as a protected species.

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