Mountain tortoise poachers reap the Mekong Delta
  • By Ngo Nguyen | dtinews.vn | December 22, 2011 01:11 PM

Mountain tortoises are being hunted to be sold to restaurants in an number of areas in the Mekong Delta.
Tran Van Leo specialises in buying snakes and tortoises in Tri Ton, An Giang Province
Poachers have been flocking to the mountainous districts of Tri Ton, An Giang Province, as well as Kien Luong, Kien Giang Province, to catch the tortoises and other wild animals such as geckos and wild birds. 

Two types of these mountain tortoises are endangered. These are rua vang (Inotestudo Enongata) and Rua Vien (Manouria Impressa). 

A large mountain tortoise can often weigh between 1-2 kg, and can sell for as much as VND400,000-500,000 (USD19-23.8) per kilogramme. Aquatic turtles sell for about half that price. 

Tran Van Leo, who specialises in buying snakes and tortoises in Tri Ton, An Giang Province, personally showed Dantri/DTiNews reporter dozens of mountain tortoises that he had bought from poachers.

He claims that the mountain tortoise is not only delicious, but also has health benefits because they live in the 'fresh air' and live on an abundant diet. 

The products made from this animal are often shipped to China. Many hunters will travel as far as Cambodia to catch their prey. 

According to Quan Doi Nhan Dan Newspaper, many traders of wild animal products have operate in border districts, such as An Phu, Tinh Bien and Tan Chau in An Giang Province. They buy not only tortoises, but also other wild species. Other popular "game" include snakes, pigs and porcupines from local people who sell them to restaurants in the Mekong Delta region.

Bay Nui Forest area located in Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts, An Giang Province, is home to many restaurants that sell a wide variety of dishes made from wild animals. 

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