A company in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is planning to return 24,000 invasive red-eared turtles to the US, as ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vo Dong Duc, director of Can Tho Aquatic Product Import Export Company, said, without knowing that the turtles were harmful to crops and ecosystems, they imported them to breed and later export to China where there's a demand for turtle meat.
China, however, was recently warned about the species by the press and refused to import them. The company will therefore return the reptiles to the US within the next few weeks, Duc said.
The company brought the reptiles into Vietnam under a license granted by the Aquaculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on March 5.
However, they were ordered to quarantine them in Vinh Long Province this April, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) reported.
The company was also ordered to destroy all the turtles' eggs, according to VnExpress.
Since April over 5,200 turtles which were listed as an invasive species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature have died due to the hot weather.
The department, which was held responsible by the ministry for imports into the country, told the news website that they had no idea the turtles were such a threat.