Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nest of endangered royal turtles found in Koh Kong province

Nest of endangered royal turtles found in Koh Kong province

Conservationists in Koh Kong province discovered a nest of critically endangered royal turtles earlier this month.
Conservationists in Koh Kong province discovered a nest of critically endangered royal turtles earlier this month. WCS/Supplied

Nest of endangered royal turtles found in Koh Kong province

Conservationists in Koh Kong province have found a nest of 16 eggs of the critically endangered royal turtle, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced today.

The discovery in Sre Ambel district, the first of the year, was made on February 3 by WCS staff working with the Fisheries Administration and local communities along the Sre Ambel river near Preah Angkeo village, said Eng Mengey, the conservation group's communications officer.

The royal turtle, known also as the southern river terrapin, was designated as Cambodia’s national reptile in 2005. It was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the river in 2000. Only three nests have been found in the past two years.

“Despite success after the species was re-discovered in 2000, the royal turtle is still at high risk of extinction,” said Som Sitha, WCS’s technical adviser.

So named because it is thought that only members of the royal family were allowed to eat the eggs in the past, WCS says the royal turtle is currently threatened by clearance of flooded forests, illegal fishing and the illicit wildlife trade.

Fisheries official In Hul, a WCS project coordinator, said the reptile’s breeding period spans from January to March. Four guards have been hired to guard the freshwater turtle’s nest until the eggs hatch, WCS said.

“If we find a nest, we will work with the local community to protect it until the eggs hatch and then bring the hatchlings to Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center where they will be cared for until they are mature and can be released back to the wild,” Hul said.

Currently there’s no estimate of the population of royal turtles, but a recent count of females in the Sre Ambel river system found fewer than 10, according WCS’s Mengey.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio