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Photos: Mythical Giant Turtle Found in Vietnam
By Jon Shanks
Apr 19, 2008
Researchers from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have discovered a rare giant turtle in northern Vietnam, giving scientists hope for the species they believed was extinct in the wild, the Associated Press reports. The scientists from the Cleveland Zoo discovered the Swinhoe's soft-shelled turtle when they followed up reports from villagers of a mythical creature living in a lake. Vietnamese legend tells of a huge turtle that helped the country fight off Chinese invaders in the 16th century. "This is one of those mythical species that people always talked about but no one ever saw," said the zoo's curator.
“This is an incredibly important discovery because the Swinhoe’s turtle is one of the most critically endangered species of turtle in the world,” Doug Hendrie, the Vietnam-based coordinator of the U.S. zoo’s Asian Turtle Program, said in the statement.
See more photos here of the mythical creature, including a slide show. “This species has legendary status among the people of Vietnam, so this is perhaps an opportunity for the legend to live on,” Hendrie added to reporters gathered to take in the find.
Researcher Tim McCormack of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo declined to provide the name of the lake or give other details of the turtle’s location for fear it would be hunted and sold into the wildlife trade.
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