Chasing the worlds rarest turtle - The New Yorker has a story on the work of the ATP and our work to protect Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle in Vietnam

For over a decade, the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) has worked to conserve the species, better known in Vietnam as the Hoan Kiem Turtle. A key site has been Dong Mo Lake on the outskirts of Hanoi, where an ATP’s team has a full time presence to monitor and protect the turtle. The ATP also created an artificial nesting beach, no-fishing zone, organised community events such as school lecture, turtle football cup to gain support for conservation from the local community. In addition to local conservation, our team conducted survey and research to look for remaining Rafetus swinhoei in the wild. Recently, the long search paid off with the confirmation of the fourth Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle in Xuan Khanh Lake, confirmed using eDNA in April 2018. 
For more details of our work to protect this species, please visit: The New Yorker

A long term captivity  Giant Asian Pond Turtle (Heosemys grandis) individual is wondering around his new home. Photo by: Hoang Van Ha – ATP/IMC.
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A new species of Horned Tree Dragon described from central Vietnam by the IMC/ATP team and partners

A new species of Horned Tree Dragon of the agamid family has been described from Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces, Central Vietnam. The new species, Murphy’s horned lizard, (Acanthosaura murphyi), has been found in the evergreen forest between 84 – 1060 m in Hon Ba Nature Reserve (Khanh Hoa Province) and Ca Forest, Phu Yen Province.

This research is result of the collaboration between Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC)/Asian Turtle Program (ATP), the Institute of Tropical Biology (ITB), the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR), Phu Yen University (PYU)–Vietnam and Zoological Institute and the Russian Academy of Sciences–Russia.

The research was published on the 16th of December 2018 on Russian Journal of Herpetology:

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An update on the Kon Tum Province confiscation of endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles (TFT) in Vietnam on the 4th of November 2018

On the 4th November 2018, over 400kg of turtle and snakes were confiscated by the authorities in Kon Tum province, central Vietnam.

On the 5th November, a rescue team from the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) of Cuc Phuong National Park arrived in Kon Tum Province having been informed the animals could be rescued. The team immediately started providing care to the 148 turtles of 11 different species. Of those, 9 species were classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable by IUCN Red List 2018, including 26 big-headed turtles (Platysternonmegacephalum).

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Wildlife Veterinary seminar for young veterinarians and conservationists in Vietnam

On the 2nd of December 2018, a Wildlife Veterinary Seminar was held with expert national and international guest speakers presenting to over 300 students at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture.  The event was a wonderful opportunity for young students who are interested in becoming veterinarians and conservationists in the future to gain more knowledge on environmental issues and wildlife diseases as well as learning about the work of professional conservationists and conservation NGOs. At the seminar, Nguyen Tai Thang, Field Officer of Asian Turtle Program (ATP) delivered an interesting speech on his work as a conservationist with a focus on the world’s most endangered turtle, the Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei).

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Timeline for the recent history of the worlds rarest turtle, Swinhoe's softshell turtle

The timeline lists some of the important events regarding this legendary species in Vietnam, in both English and Vietnamese.

Including the reasons why the animal become famous in Vietnam, its historical distribution, and much other useful information about it.

Take a look and feel free to ask us about it!

Click here to download the English timeline

Click here to download the Vietnamese timeline

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Thank you !!!

For making it to the end of this newsletter and for supporting us on every single project, rescue or release.

If you would like to receive updates and news from the ATP/IMC, please sign up here!!!


We would also like to thank all of our government and non-government partners that we work with on different projects.

Your support helps make all this work possible. If you would like to see more conservation projects, rescues or releases please make a donation.


Organizational donors

- American Association of Zoo Keepers
- Bristol Zoo, UK
- British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA)
- British Herpetological Society
- British Chelonian Group (BCG)
- Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ)
- Chevrolet Vietnam
- Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)
- Drayton Manor Park and Zoo
- The HDH Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- IUCN Netherlands - Purchase of Nature
- Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCF)
- Paradise Park Zoo, UK
- Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
- Rainforest Trust
- Thanh Truong Loc Construction Ltd. Company
- The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
- Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF)
- World Land Trust, UK
- Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Individual donors

- Aaron Marty
- Benjamine Tapley
- Billy Tu
- Bonnie Raphael
- Chris Banks
- Daniel Goncalves
- Daniel Nordberg
- Diana Bell
- Doori Lichtenberger
- Duong Dang
- Herbert Becker
- Jake Brunner
- Jackin Lam
- James Harding
- Joe Monahan
- Lena Helena
- Louise Fletcher
- Luke Pitts
- Nam Anh
- Phuong Mai
- Scott Trageser
- Siegfried Stricker/ Christel Stricker
- Stephane Levesque
- Ta Thuong
- The Days
- Tony Walker
- Ursela Kiesele
- William Bain
- Yasemin Kukkla
- Zachary Eben Frenzel

Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation

Registered with Charity Commission for England & Wales, no. 1126123
UK: 15 Lime Walk, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG42NF, United Kingdom
Vietnam: Room#1806 CT1, C14 Bac Ha Building, To Huu Street, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
PO Box 46 
Phone:+84 (0) 24 7302 8389