The Turtlez and Conservation

The Asian Turtle Program of Indo Myanmar Conservation

The Asian Turtle Program (ATP) was established in 1998, and, in 2015, became a subsidiary of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC), a UK-based NGO.

Our aim is to establish a safe and sustainable future for Asian turtles, and ensuring that no further turtle species become extinct in the region. We protect tortoises and freshwater turtles (TFT) in southeast Asia with a focus on Vietnam.

Priority species include critically endangered and endemic species of greatest conservation concern such as the endemic Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) and Indochinese Box Turtles (Cuora bourreti) and (Cuora picturata), and the legendary Hoan Kiem Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), also known as Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle.

The ATP provides enforcement training for forest rangers, raises public awareness about the importance of protecting Vietnam’s turtles, conducts conservation-focused research, and hosts a student training program to build the next generation of conservationists in Southeast Asia. As well as TFT conservation, IMC has broader focuses such as research on additional taxa or the development of alternative livelihoods for key communities.

If you would like to contribute to the ATP, please visit our support page or contact us at

The ATP/IMC has been supporting turtle rescue, rehabilitation, and release in Vietnam.

Turtle Conservation

Since the earliest known shelled turtle ancestor 220 MYA, this group of reptiles has successfully colonised terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems around the world. They evolved into many different forms but all with a common feature in the shell, whether that be hard in most species or soft in Leatherback Sea Turtles or Softshell Turtles.

Despite having a successful life history that utilises delayed sexual maturity and very long lifespans, they are now extremely vulnerable to extinction, particularly due to anthropogenic activities.

There are currently approximately 355 recognised living species of turtle (Order Testudines), including tortoise and freshwater turtles (TFT), and the seven species of marine turtle. Turtles are a highly threatened vertebrate group; 171 species (48.2%) are Threatened, with 109 species (30.7%) classified as Critically Endangered or Endangered.

Around the world, turtles have the same threats as other groups such as habitat loss, but by far, the greatest danger is collection and hunting for food and traditional medicine. In the 1990s, many Asian turtles experienced precipitous population declines leading to the Asian turtle crisis (van Dijk et al., 2000). These population declines have been driven by unsustainable harvesting to supply Chinese markets. This unsustainable trade was recognised by the IUCN as a significant threat to turtle survival (Turtle Conservation Coalition, 2011).

Vietnam has 31 confirmed species of turtle which is in the top 10 most turtle-rich countries in the world. 29 of these are Threatened (including 25 out of 26 confirmed TFT species) and 22 are Endangered or Critically Endangered (including 20 TFT species).

Like much of the rest of the world, Vietnam’s turtles are also at high risk of extinction thanks to the huge illegal wildlife trade, especially to China. Due to the large border with China and recent improvements in transport and communication between these two countries, Vietnam has become a major route for trafficked turtles (and other species) both from within and from neighbouring countries such as Laos and Cambodia.

Eretmochelys imbricata sketch by The Turtlez artist Dao Van Hoang
Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) sketch by The Turtlez artist Dao Van Hoang.
Terrapene carolina sketch by The Turtlez artist Dao Van Hoang
Common Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) sketch by The Turtlez artist Dao Van Hoang.


If you want to make a cryptodonation to ATP/IMC and support our conservation work, please send ADA to the QR code or ADA address below! Thank you!



Please send only from a wallet that supports native assets and do not use exchanges!