Green Forest: Turtles

Educational Resource for Children Encourages
Greater Protection for Vietnam’s Endangered Turtles

Green Forest cover

     In April 2003, Education for Nature–Vietnam (ENV) released a new educational resource for children focused on turtles.  This special edition of the popular children’s activity series, Green Forest, introduces readers to the life and ecology, and threats to Vietnam’s endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles, and suggests practical ways that students can help protect their turtle friends.

     The printed edition of Green Forest: Turtles was produced by ENV in cooperation with the Turtle Conservation and Ecology Program—Vietnam (TCEP), with the support of the Melbourne Zoo and WWF—US.

     Twenty-three species of tortoises and freshwater turtles are native to Vietnam.  All are threatened by the combined impact of habitat loss and the illegal trade, with most wild populations reduced to living in fragments of forest and wetland habitat, which are subjected to intense hunting pressure.

     Turtles are consumed as food or used to make traditional medicines, and their shells are used to make jewelry and ornaments.  Turtles are also popular as pets in Vietnam.  While most turtles in the trade still eventually end up in the markets of China, evidence suggests that domestic consumption of wildlife is increasing in Vietnam as the economy grows and people are able to afford more expensive specialty foods and medicines.

     While only five species of turtles are protected under Vietnamese law (Decree 48), CITES lists 13 of Vietnam’s native species under Appendix II.  All 23 of Vietnam’s tortoise and freshwater species are listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Wildlife.

     The online Green Forest: Turtles (in English and Vietnamese*) is produced with permission of ENV and TCEP.  Green Forest: Turtles is appropriate for adults as well as children, and for anyone interested in turtles from anywhere in the world.  The beautiful and accurate watercolor paintings, together with descriptive captions, give an excellent overview of Vietnam’s turtle species, their habitat, and threats to their survival.

Watercolor paintings by Nguyen Doan Son.
Go to Next Page

*The online Vietmamese version is under construction.