The Hanoi People’s Committee on Feb. 28 decided to set up a 13-member council for the treatment of the endangered giant turtle species in Ho Guom – or Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake .

Veterinarian Nguyen Huy Dang, Deputy Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, is the chairman of the council.

The People’s Committee assigned the Sword Lake Turtle Treatment Council to approach and lead the turtle believed to be one of the only four of its kind in the world, to the foot of Thap Rua ( Turtle Tower ) to be contained in a specially-designed swimming pool for treatment and care.

In necessary case, the council will invited international veterinarians specialising in turtle protection to be involved in the rescue.

Together with the treatment of the turtle, relevant agencies will implement synchronous measures to treat the polluted water environment, seize alien red-eared tortoises turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) and use German technology to dredge mud in 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 up to 300 years old and may be the last of its kind in Hoan Kiem Lake. /.