Police in Vietnam’s Central Highlands have slapped a fine of VND290 million (US$12,470) on a woman for illicitly trading rare and endangered turtles.
Pham Thi Tam, 39, who resides in An Nhon Town in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, was fined for illegally buying and selling rare and endangered wildlife, officers confirmed on Thursday.
The fine includes VND250 million ($10,750) for the trade of five big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), each weighing about 3.5 kilograms, and VND40 million ($1,720) for trading 81 turtles of other species, each weighing approximately 64 kilograms.
Big-headed turtles are listed as an endangered species by the IUCN Red List as a result of population declines.
On November 4, 2018, police in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum caught a man red-handed transporting the animals in an automobile.
An investigation later revealed that Tam was the owner of these turtles.
The woman said she had sourced them from different people, whose identities are unknown, in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
Law enforcement rescued all the turtles and transferred them to the conservation center of Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum for further care before they are released to their natural habitat.