Hundreds of endangered turtles rescued

Vietnamese police have rescued 849 critically endangered hawksbill turtles.

Officers discovered the turtles last Wednesday and set them free at the Nha Trang Sea Reserve, said a member of the environmental police in south-central Khanh Hoa province.

Investigations were continuing and nobody was arrested, said the officer who refused to be named and gave no further details.

The VietnamNet online news service said the turtles weighed between seven and eight kilograms (15 and 18 pounds) and had been bought by a local resident from fishermen.

It said the sea reserve was established in 2001 and turtles were now breeding there. The report did not say if the turtles were destined for the pot or export.

Hawksbills are listed as critically endangered on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.