Endangered turtle escapes a soupy fate


Turtle HANOI, Vietnam – They’re calling him “the lucky royal turtle” — a rare and endangered reptile that was saved from a likely fate in a Chinese soup pot by keen-eyed wildlife officers and a microchip. Poachers snatched the animal, a species called “Royal Turtle” in Cambodia because its eggs were once fed to kings, from a Cambodian river two months ago and toted it across the Vietnamese border on a motorbike with a stash of other, more common, turtles. Conservationists said that at 33 pounds (15 kilograms), the animal was sure to have fetched a good price when it reached the smuggler’s destination: The food markets of China, where turtle meat is a delicacy often made into soup. A raid on the smuggler’s house in southern Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province was the turtle’s first stroke of good luck. About 30 turtles were confiscated and transported to a wildlife inspection center, where workers noticed there was something different about this one.

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