Pagoda 'mercifully' releases 114 turtles to national park

By Nguyen Dong   April 25, 2024 | 06:52 pm PT
Pagoda 'mercifully' releases 114 turtles to national park
A turtle that lives in a pond of the Nam Son Pagoda in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
A pagoda in Da Nang has handed over 114 turtles, ceremonially released by the faithful as a “merciful act,” to Cuc Phuong National Park.

The Hoa Vang Forest Protection Department said on Thursday it had received 114 turtles from the Nam Son Pagoda in Hoa Vang District. Nam Son turtles have incrementally been emancipated from their pond enclosure at the pagoda in ritual acts of "merciful release" over many years.

The department has enlisted a nature protection center in Hanoi to bring the turtles to Cuc Phuong for research and determination of their species and habitats.

Among the released turtles were Chinese stripe-necked turtles (Mauremys sinensis), whose population in the wild is dwindling due to hunting. The species has been categorized as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Southeast Asian box turtles (Cuora amboinensis kamaroma), which are also classified as an endangered species, have also been liberated from the pagoda.

Life release is a traditional Buddhist practice of saving the life of animals destined for slaughter. In Vietnam, the practice has been exploited to serve the trade of wild animals. Many Buddhism followers would buy birds and turtles sold in cages on the streets to bring to pagodas to perform release rituals.

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