According to the IUCN, Southeast Asia is the area of the world with the highest number of threatened turtle species. The current status of chelonians is particularly catastrophic in Vietnam. However, there is still a lack of field data to unambiguously support this
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According to the IUCN, Southeast Asia is the area of the world with the highest number of threatened turtle species. The current status of chelonians is particularly catastrophic in Vietnam. However, there is still a lack of field data to unambiguously support this fact for a few species. To better understand the freshwater turtle diversity and eventually undertake efficient conservation actions, we conducted surveys with local fishers using standardized questionnaires in two independent river systems in northern Vietnam. A total of 112 questionnaires were administered to as many fishers in April and October 2022. We directly observed four sympatric freshwater species (Pelodiscus sinensis
, Palea steindachneri
, Mauremys sinensis
and Sacalia quadriocellata
) in Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces, and two species (Pelodiscus sinensis
and Palea steindachneri
) in Bac Giang, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, and Hung Yen provinces. Based on the interviews, we added as possible the presence of two other species (Rafetus swinhoei
and Pelochelys cantorii
) in each of the two study areas. Moreover, we recorded for the first time in Vietnam, two wild individuals of an invasive alien species, the Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina
), confirming that the distribution and ecology of turtle species in Vietnam is poorly understood. Furthermore, recent photos (year 2019) of a 38 kg softshell turtle, possibly attributable to Rafetus swinhoei
, were recorded from a restaurant in the area. In conclusion, interviews with local fishers have been found to be useful for exploring the likely presence and the local distribution of the various turtle species.