|Baby turtles are reintroduced to the wild at Nui Chua National Park in Ninh Thuan province
Additionally, four mature turtles were also safely reintroduced to the wild. They belong to the green turtle, hawksbill turtle and loggerhead species, which are all classified as endangered, according to the park’s management board.
Tran Van Tiep, deputy director of the Nui Chua National Park management board, said the park is one of the few mainland areas in Vietnam where sea turtles come to lay their eggs each year. The reptile’s nesting season usually lasts from March to October and peaks in June and July.
This year, thanks to favourable weather conditions, the numbers of turtles nesting, eggs laid and baby turtles released have increased, he noted.
Tiep added that to protect turtles and eggs from predators and poachers, staff at the park and volunteers have kept a close eye on the nesting grounds and conducted frequent patrols. They have also evacuated nests at risk of flooding, released baby animals safely into the sea and rescued those in danger
Statistics show that the population of sea turtles in Vietnam and other countries in the region is declining rapidly due to poaching, trafficking, the use of turtle-related products, coral reef and seaweed degradation, water pollution, and dwindling food sources. Climate change and marine plastic pollution have also influenced their habitat and health.
To help with conservation, the Nui Chua National Park has carried out numerous measures in coordination with many domestic and foreign organisations like the Nha Trang-based Institute of Oceanography, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Nui Chua National Park covers an area of about 30,000 hectares with forest, sea and semi-arid areas. It is home to 1,054 plant species and 345 animal species, many of which are listed in Vietnam’s Red Data Book and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a programme for endangered sea turtle conservation. As part of the programme, the Nui Chua National Park has been named as one of the prioritised areas for protecting and recovering the habitat and nesting grounds of the reptiles.