There are only four Critically Endangered Hoan Kiem turtles (Rafetus swinhoei) - also known as Yangtze giant softshell turtles - remaining in the world. Two of these are found in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Earlier this year, staff from Indo Myanmar Conservation's Asian Turtle Program (ATP) organized the fifth annual "Turtle Cup" football match, which raises awareness about turtle conservation for local community members. More than 600 people came to watch the eight local teams who come from villages around Vietnam's Dong Mo Lake ― home to one of the four remaining Hoan Kiem turtles.
With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) through our reinvestment in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, ATP is building support for conservation of highly threatened tortoise and freshwater turtle species in Vietnam by identifying and protecting sites where the species survive, developing species recovery plans, and strengthening networking among stakeholders.
Other recent conservation activities completed by ATP include the creation of a no-fishing zone to protect fish stock in the lake and prevent fishing activities in the area used by the remaining Hoan Kiem turtle. A sand bank has also been constructed to provide the turtle with a suitable nesting location or basking site. And ATP has created a permanent team that monitors the lake and supports community activities.