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49 nests of endangered turtle species found

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
the egg of Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle. WCS Cambodia

Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia said this year’s nesting season of the critically endangered Cantor’s giant softshell turtles, have increased compared to the past three years.

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According to a press release on Saturday celebrating the World Turtle Day, the local community nest protection team found 49 nests with 1,756 eggs. Although it is only two nests more than in the 2019 nesting season, the number of eggs was much higher than in recent years.

The organisation said, “As of May 22, 824 baby turtles hatched from 41 nests, of which 657 hatchlings were released into the wild while the rest will be released in the future. The conservation team awaits the fate of the remaining eggs and expects more will hatch soon.”

Ken Sereyrotha, country programme director for WCS Cambodia, said yesterday the increase in number of nests and eggs has inspired them to put more effort on the conservation of this critically endangered species.

A young girl marvels at Cantor’s giant softshell turtles. WCS Cambodia

“Despite this year’s increase in the number of Cantor’s giant softshell turtles, they are not as healthy as the ones from previous years due to higher temperatures recorded in Cambodia,” he added.

Mr Sereyrotha said the increase in the number of eggs found was mainly due to awareness and participation of the people through community nest protection programmes, the dissemination of information to the authorities and all NGOs regarding Cantor’s giant softshell turtles.

The Wildlife Conservation Society finds the eggs of a Cantor’s giant softshell turtle in Cambodia. WCS Cambodia

He added: “The illegal fishing activities including the use of electric shock and fishing nets are the major challenges for the conservation of Cantor’s giant softshell turtles.”

According to the WCS, the Cantor’s giant softshell turtle, scientifically named as Pelochelys cantorii, is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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