ABOUT THE TCC
The Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) is located at Cuc Phuong National Park, 120 kilometres southwest from Hanoi, Vietnam. The TCC was established in 1998 as a rescue and holding centre for tortoises and freshwater turtles which were seen in the extensive illegal wildlife trade during the 1980’s and 1990’s. It was widely recognized that this trade, largely to China for consumption as food and for traditional medicines was entirely unsustainable and needed to be addressed.
The TCC rapidly developed into a conservation project supported by the Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation. Today, the TCC serves as a regional flagship for tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation efforts and for educating the public about the critical threats to the survival of turtles in Vietnam.
The centre encompasses an area of about 7,000 square meters comprising , aquatic tanks, and specialized breeding and holding facilities for more than 1300 turtles, representing 22 of Vietnam’s 25 native species. Most animals at the TCC have been confiscated by wildlife protection authorities from the illegal trade or were hatched at the centre.
The TCC has now developed clear objectives to increase the centre’s impact on turtle conservation activities in Vietnam:
- 1. Rescuing, holding, and releasing turtles confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade The centre has played a central role in ensuring turtles in the illegal trade can be rescued and cared for. Although large confiscations of turtles are becoming rare in Vietnam, the TCC still receives endangered and critically endangered turtles from the trade.
- 2. Awareness and education In 2010 the TCC opened a section of the turtle centre to the park’s 80,000 annual visitors as part of an initiative to enhance potential opportunities to raise public awareness. The visitor interpretation centre (VIC) includes underwater viewing tanks, an incubation viewing room, outdoor enclosures, and large ponds where turtles can be seen in near wild settings. Throughout the VIC interpretive panels, photographs and signboards have been created to educate visitors, students, rangers, and officials about the diverse and endangered turtle fauna of Vietnam. It has become a priority at the TCC to increase public awareness on the values of protecting wildlife, as this is a fundamental first step to protect tortoises and freshwater turtles in Vietnam.
- For this reason, the TCC also places special importance on training students and young professionals, preferably Vietnamese, to encourage the next generation of young turtle scientists and conservationists.
- The centre has also established a program to give students and staff from international universities and zoos the opportunity to gain experience and exchange knowledge by conducting short research projects or volunteering at the centre.
- 3. Captive breeding
- Although the majority of Vietnamese tortoise and freshwater turtle (TFT) species are under threat, there is a shortage of funding and it has been essential to identify priorities for conservation breeding activities. At the TCC, captive breeding programs are prioritized for the most vulnerable native TFT species of Vietnam, recognized by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. To date, the TCC has succeeded in breeding 12 species at the centre.
WHO CAN BECOME VOLUNTEERS?
The TCC has no special requirements for the volunteers at the centre, volunteers only need passion for animals, enthusiasm, the ability to work well within a team and can take responsibility for the work that they do.
The TCC encourages those who are studying or have graduated from related fields, such as biology, zoology, environment, forestry, animal health, wildlife management in captivity and conservation biology.
Applicants under 18 years of age need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Help staff to prepare food for turtles.
- Clean the turtle enclosures.
- Help to create an enriching environment within the enclosures.
- Update turtle care records.
- Collect and organize turtle egg and hatchling data.
- Assist in updating news, articles, pictures on the website and Facebook of the TCC.
- Deliver special tours for visitors, when required
- Support the treatment and medical care of the turtles under the supervision of the veterinary department.
- Various other tasks as assigned by the TCC manager(s).
HOW TO REGISTER
So, if you think that volunteering at the TCC is for you, please be sure to read our terms and conditions, complete the application form, and e-mail it along with your CV back to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will notify you as soon as possible of your acceptance into the volunteer program. Once we have confirmed, you can organize your flights and liaise with us for your health check and accommodation preference. We will organize your accommodation in Cuc Phuong, your business visa, and can organize your transport from the airport to the TCC.
Please download Volunteer Information Sheet and Application Form at the following link: