Seeking the best solutions for protecting the endangered giant turtle species in Ho Guom – or Hoan Kiem Lake - ( Sword Lake ) was the theme of a seminar in Hanoi on Feb. 15.

At the seminar, hosted by the Hanoi Department of Science and Technology, domestic and foreign experts and scientists agreed that the Ho Guom turtle is being threatened by the polluted water environment and the competition of alien red-eared tortoises turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans).

However, they didn’t reach a consensus on the most effective measure to rescue the turtle, which was featured in one of the nation’s most popular legend.

Despite different ideas, scientists and experts agreed on several immediate measures, including the continued clearance of mud and rubbish in the lake and raising people’s awareness of the importance of protecting the Ho Guom turtles so that they do not release the red-eared tortoises and other alien animals into the lake.

Turtles are important in Vietnamese culture, particularly the Ho Guom turtle. It is considered holy because of a 15th-century legend that King Le Loi drove out invading Chinese with a magical sword which the gods gave him and he later returned by giving the sword to the lake's turtle.

The turtle could be as many as 300 years old and might be the last of its kind in Hoan Kiem Lake. /.