Hoan Kiem Turtle
Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 2:32AM
[chuck] in Hoan Kiem Lake, Rafetus leloii, Science, Vietnam

Was having lunch at a cafe by Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi (see Lake Hoan Kiem) and I saw a lot of people crowding around the bank.  I went over to see what was going on, and - I saw the Hoan Kiem turtle!! To put this in context, this is a bit like seeing the Loch Ness monster. A dead Rafetus leloii was recovered from the lake in 1967 weighing 440 kg and measuring 1.9 m, and it was unclear if there was another turtle in the lake or not. There have been periodic turtle sightings in Hoan Kiem over the past ten years, however, and it is generally thought that there is one last Rafetus leloii turtle still in the lake. One in Hoan Kiem Lake, and two in zoos in China. And these, apparently, are the last three individuals left of this species. Sigh.  I am humbled to have seen one of the three this afternoon.

UPDATE: The Rafetus leloii specimen found in the lake 1967 is on display at the Ngoc Son temple. This is a big turtle.

Article originally appeared on thus i have seen (http://thusihaveseen.squarespace.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.