Vets to treat injured Hoan Kiem lake turtle

Published: 26/02/2011 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge - The Emergency Committee for the Saving of the Hoan Kiem Lake Turtle decided yesterday to treat the injured turtle at Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) in the middle of the lake.

Committee Deputy Director Le Xuan Rao said methods of capturing the turtle were decided yesterday and a council comprised of veterinarians, biologists and other experts would soon be set up to help cure the turtle.

This will be the first attempt to approach the soft-shelled turtle, which has been lacerated by fish hooks and forced to survive in highly polluted water while suffering attacks from aggressive red-ear turtles that have been released by local people who grew tired of keeping the animals as pets.

Rao said scientists would have to wait until the turtle crawls onto the tower to capture and treat it. If that does not work, the committee plans to capture the turtle by placing a net in the areas it typically swims.

An underwater tank containing a turtle-friendly environment will also be built to house the turtle.

Turtle Tower used to be a preferred resting spot of the turtle until the construction of a solid embankment blocked the turtle from reaching the tower.

According to turtle expert Ha Dinh Duc, there are two sand banks underneath the foot of the tower, each 6-square metre wide and about 40-cm deep. Rao said the committee plans to immediately make the tower accessible again.

Earlier, Duc said the injuries found on the turtle were probably the most severe injuries the turtle had suffered in the last two decades.

“They are getting worse and the turtle’s health is at an alarming level,” he told Viet Nam News.

Originally, Nguyen Ngoc Khoi, who has been studying the Hoan Kiem lake turtle for over 20 years, proposed using a motorboat or a helicopter to bring the turtle ashore. Duc rejected the proposal as well as those calling for automatic traps to catch red-ear turtles.

A series of proposals had also been put forth at meetings before the final decision was made by the Emergency Committee for the Saving of Hoan Kiem Lake turtle yesterday.

By the time the committee finished its meeting at around 10.00am, Hanoians had seen the turtle floating for about one or two minutes opposite the King Ly Thai To statue on the other side of Dinh Tien Hoang Street.

Hanoians believe that spotting the turtle is an omen.

The turtle belongs to an extremely rare species. Only four of its kind are left in the world. One resides in a lake outside Ha Noi and the other two are in a zoo in China.

Turtles are a cultural symbol in Viet Nam, especially the one in Hoan Kiem Lake, which is believed to be hundreds of years old.

Source: VNS

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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