Saturday, December 6, 2008

Man holds endangered turtle hostage: releases it for $200 and new fishing nets

A fisherman in Vietnam captured a rare Vietnamese turtle who was swept away by a flood. This 150 pound turtle is one of only four rafetus swinhoei species turtles are known to exist.

Fisherman Nguyen Van Toan found the turtle early Wednesday and demanded $1,400 in exchange for its release, arguing that a Hanoi restaurant owner had offered him 30 million Vietnamese dong ($4,800) for the animal.

Turtles are considered a delicacy in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

Toan argued with authorities and conservationists for hours, occasionally picking up a stick to threaten the crowd of about 100 onlookers that gathered in his yard to watch the drama. He finally agreed to accept cash and new nets to replace the ones he ruined capturing the turtle.

The turtle has been allowed to return home and conservationists (and the turtle) are grateful that he did not get turned into soup.

Hopefully the fisherman is able to catch many fish with his new nets and keep his family very comfortable with the profits from those fish.

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