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Survey Fails to Find Two Sea Turtle Species Off Northern, Central Coasts

Bad news for Vietnam's sea turtle population.

According to VnExpress, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was unable to find any members of two marine sea turtle species off northern and central Vietnam during the organization's 2017 survey.

Vietnam is home to five sea turtle species: green sea, loggerhead, olive ridley, hawksbill and leatherback.

At a workshop held in Da Nang last weekend, the IUCN reported that no hawksbill or leatherback turtles were detected in the two above-mentioned regions.

These species have faced a sharp drop in numbers nationwide over the years. It is estimated that in 1980, such turtles laid roughly 10,000 eggs a year in Vietnam, while this year that figured has dropped to just 450.

All five of Vietnam's sea turtle species are listed in the national Red Book, and hunting or trading in them is illegal. Habitat destruction, illegal fishing and the illegal trade in turtle parts are driving these population declines, while the huge volume of plastic waste in Vietnam's waters also threatens their well-being.

Efforts are underway to try and reverse the decline of Vietnam's turtles. For example, the Hon Cau Marine Reserve is building a sea turtle conservation facility using the funds they received in a successful crowdfunding campaign back in August, while Con Dao, the main nesting site for olive ridley turtles, has been home to conservation work for years.

[Photo via Science]