Friday, April 18, 2008

My favorite bridge

This is in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is on a lake that is a spiritual and special place to the Vietnamese people. There are two small islands in the lake. The red bridge leads to one and there is a old white temple on another one. One of the photos shown (it looks all grey and misty) does have this temple.

The water was this amazing Kelly green.. so cool looking with the vivid red bridge. They have a legend that a giant sea turtle lives in this lake.. and guess what was just in the news yesterday? THIS IS THE SAME LAKE!! Neat, huh?

They had a sign explaining the legend of the lake with an acutal (but, dead and stuffed) giant turtle on display.

Cleveland zoo researchers find rare giant turtle in Vietnam
Wed Apr 16, 11:01 PM ET

CLEVELAND - Researchers from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have discovered a rare giant turtle in northern Vietnam — a find that carries great scientific and cultural significance. Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle was previously thought to be extinct in the wild. Three other turtles of the species are in captivity, said experts from the Zoo's Asian turtle program.

The discovery represents hope for the species, said Doug Hendrie, the Vietnam-based coordinator of the zoo program.

Turtle expert Peter Pritchard, president of the Chelonian Research Institute, confirmed the find based on a photo Hendrie showed him.

"It looked like pretty solid evidence. The animal has a pretty distinctive head," Pritchard said.

There have been rumors for years of a mythical creature living deep in the waters of a northern Vietnam lake. Some in a village west of Hanoi claimed to be blessed by catching a glimpse of it's concave shell as it crested above the surface of their lake.

A national legend tells of a giant golden turtle that bestowed upon the Vietnamese people a magic sword and victory over Chinese invaders in the 16th century. Whether that sacred turtle has materialized in the 21st century will be a matter of cultural debate among the Vietnamese.

"This is one of those mythical species that people always talked about but no one ever saw," said Geoff Hall, zoo general curator.

Of the other three Swinhoe's soft-shell turtles in captivity, two are in Chinese zoos and the other is cared for in the Hoan Kiem ("Returned Sword") Lake in downtown Hanoi — the lake in which the legendary turtle appeared to reclaim the sword from the emperor.

Pritchard said an amateur photographed a Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle in southern China about six months ago that he believes was legitimate.

"It's on the very brink of extinction, so every one counts," Pritchard said.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo began its effort to preserve and protect Asian turtles in 2003 amid reports of increased killings for food or to make traditional medicine from their bones. Development and pollution also led to loss of nesting habitats along rivers, zoo officials said.

The zoo has put more than $275,000 into Asian turtle conservation efforts since 2000 and has supported Hendrie since 2003, officials said.

His team and scientists from Education for Nature-Vietnam had searched lakes and wetlands along the Red River for three years before hearing about the creature living outside Hanoi.

The turtle remains in the lake and researchers have notified the Vietnamese government of its existence, Hendrie said.

*Click on the photo for a larger view...

This is the view on the bridge of the little temple on it's own little island. (click on the photo so you can see it better.)

The water was so amazing.. and strange at the same time. I think that this looks like a piece of marble or a painting. However, if you click on the photo-- you can see either a bug or a spider on the water.

This is the same island, but from the opposite side of the lake.


Diane said...

I want to see the turtle! Very interesting post.

iwouldratherbeknitting said...

I almost took a photo of the giant 'stuffed' (but, used to be real) turtle.. but, I thought it was a little creepy.. lol..

So, I didn't and now I wish I did take a photo- so, it would go with the photos of the bridge on the same lake. :D