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Red ear turtles intrude Hoan Kiem Lake

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:34 am

Although Hanoi citizens have been requested to collect and destroy red ear turtles, known to be the most dangerous invasive species in the world, visitors saw vast numbers of this species at Hoan Kiem Lake which is a sanctuary of the legendary turtle. The old turtle is now being menaced by the red ear turtle.

Red-eared turtles at Hoan Kiem Lake.

Thu Thuy, who lives on Hang Be Street, saw many red ear turtles around Hoan Kiem Lake and even on the path to the Ngoc Son temple.

Some vendors in the area near the lake noticed that the turtles floated on the water and even slid up and down the sides of the well.

On December 19, residents of Hanoi and many visitors were astonished to see a legendary turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake carrying a red-eared turtle on its back.

Dr. Ha Dinh Duc, an expert on this species, first discovered a red-eared slider in the lake in 1997 and believes the numbers have grown since then. He stated that this species breeds prolifically and confirmed that their existence in the lake was a threat to the old turtle’s food sources.

Dr Duc warned that in years to come these turtles may devour all the algae in the lake and even all the plant life. He also believed that this destructive species of turtles was increasing in numbers and would soon overtake all existing living creatures in the lake.

Tran Xuan Viet, director of Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said relevant departments were asked to collect and destruct red ear turtles, but now this work has not been done at Hoan Kiem Lake.

In addition, the Hanoi People’s Committee also asked relevant departments to strengthen to check catching, buying, breeding and releasing the red ear turtles.

Dr. Duc thinks that authorities in Hanoi need to take urgent steps to contain the prolific growth of the red ear turtle as these creatures are vociferous eaters of all plant marine life leaving very little food for other native series.

Turtles are important in Vietnamese culture, particularly the Ho Guom turtle. It is reclusive and rare and considered holy because of a 15th-century legend that claims King Le Loi drove out invading Chinese with a magical sword, which the gods gave him and which he later returned by giving it to the lake’s turtle, which swam it back to the gods.

Source: SGGP

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