Conservationists have found more than 400 eggs of the Asian Giant Softshell Turtle along the Mekong River in Kratie province since the beginning of November.
A Wildlife Conservation Society statement yesterday said that the conservationists from Community Fisheries, Fisheries Administration and WCS found 13 nests of the turtles containing 444 eggs on sand bars along the river.
The Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, or pelochelys cantorii, is listed on the IUCN Red List as globally endangered.
“It was thought extinct in the Cambodian portion of the Mekong River until its re-discovery in 2007 along a 48-kilometre stretch of the river in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces,” the statement said.
Leak Ratna, WCS-Cambodia communications manager, yesterday said that this species of turtle’s nesting season normally starts from November until May yearly.
He said that during the nesting season, conservationists always patrol along the riverbank of Mekong River to seek out the eggs.
“We expect more eggs of the Asian Giant Softshell Turtles to be found until the end of the nesting season because it has just started,” Mr Ratna said.
He added that the conservationists collect the eggs and keep them at a conservation centre to hatch.
The turtle nest protection programme is implemented by WCS in collaboration with Community Fisheries in Kratie province’s Sambor district and Stung Treng province’s Siem Bouk district and the Fisheries Administration.
WCS technical advisor Som Sitha yesterday said that most people understand and help in the conservation of the turtles.
“Between 50 and 70 percent of the local population participate in our programmes to disseminate information about the fishery law and using illegal fishing equipment,” he said.