WCS in collaboration with Fisheries Administration (FiA) has released 100 Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle Hatchlings into the Mekong river in Sambour district of Kratie province.
The release took place this morning under the presidency of H.E. W. Patrick Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and head of the delegation with Kratie provincial deputy governor, representatives from FiA, Kratie Fisheries Administration Cantonment, USAID, USAID Greening Prey Lang, community fisheries members, nest protectors, river guards and WCS in attendance.
According to a WCS’ press release, WCS’ conservation of Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle is funded by the European Union (EU), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), USFWS, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropy and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA).
In the 2020 nesting season, the community nest protection team found 49 nests of Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle with 1,756 eggs, pointed out WCS in a statement issued late last month, stressing that although this was only two nests more than in the 2019 nesting season, the number of eggs was much higher than in recent years.
Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle, Pelochelyscantorii is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Only a few records of the species exist in Laos and other countries, and it has disappeared across much of its former range in Vietnam and Thailand owing to poaching and trade of adult turtles and illegal collection of their eggs for food. In Cambodia, it was not observed in the wild by scientists between 2003 and 2007, until it was found on the Mekong River in between Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. WCS and FiA have been working to conserve the species since 2017 through disrupting the illegal capture and trade in freshwater turtles, a community-based nest protection programme, and support to Community Fisheries and community development.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press