During the preparation time for the international workshop at Hà Nội from 3rd to 17th January 2019, the Turtle Sanctuary team have spent time to the several on-going projects. We took advantage of our presence in Hanoi to meet again Associate Prof. Hoang Van Sam, Director of International cooperation department, Vietnamese National University of Forestry (VNUF), with whom we define all the axes of a sustainable development project, based in an agricultural poor zone and remote areas in Northern Vietnam. Accompanied by our socio-legal adviser, Tomas Zuklin, also teaching at the VNUF, we were able to approve the timetable and the means necessary to start this project in 2019. We will soon have the opportunity to obtain the agreement of the Ministry of Education, Ecology and Environment of Italy to get financial support for this great project.
The international meeting of 3 days were the opportunity to start a nice collaboration with a professional film crew. Some beautiful images have been captured to illustrate the involvement of our team as those of all participating specialists. This is just the beginning of a great adventure since a series of documentaries will finally follow these few images. The human history of Turtle Sanctuary will be etched in the history of conservation through the broadcast of several episodes.
After 3 days of hard work, our guests were taken to Dong Mo Lake, a few dozen kilometres from the capital, where one of the two wild specimens of the iconic Swinhoe’s soft-shelled turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) confirm to be presence. This visit enabled the IUCN Turtle Specialist Group to visualize the habitat of the “rarest turtle in the world”.
We ended up the relaxing sequence with a trip to Cuc Phuong National Park, where a Herping night has been organized to discover the Vietnamese Herpetofauna. On the next day, the guests were enabled to visit incredible limestone landscape along river-Van Long Nature reserve- where claims to be “Terrestrial Halong Bay” in Ninh Binh. It is also the last sanctuary of a primate on the verge of extinction the Delacour Langur (Trachypithecus delacouri) of which there are about 200 individuals to the wild state.
Cédric and Olivier then flew to neighbouring, Laos for an appointment at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The signing of a memorandum of understanding will follow this warm meeting in the coming months.