Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Royal turtle lays 80 eggs in Koh Kong

Royal turtle lays 80 eggs in Koh Kong

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Royal turtle hatched in 2021 named Steve at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Centre (KKRCC). WONDERS OF THE MEKONG

Royal turtle lays 80 eggs in Koh Kong

In 2022, a Royal turtle (Batagur affinis) at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Centre (KKRCC) has laid 80 new eggs which will soon hatch. This brings hope for environmentalists after only one of the 71 eggs laid last year hatched due to lack of conditions.

Som Sitha, Project Manager of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), told The Post on April 11 that Steve – a one-year-old royal turtle – was the only egg among the 71 eggs that hatched at the (KKRCC) back in 2021. It was named after “Steve”.

He said that Steve was named after Dr Steven G. Platt, an American herpetologist, in honour of his research work.

With support from Fisheries Administration, Platt was the first to rediscover the existence of the royal turtle, also known as southern river terrapin, in the Sre Ambel stream system in Sre Ambel district of Koh Kong Province in 1999-2000.

Steve was considered to be the lucky one out of 71 Royal Turtle eggs in light of the fact that the rest of them died. The eggs were the first ever laid in captivity at the Centre.

“The problem that caused all 71 turtle eggs to fail to hatch could have come from the young female turtle, perhaps a combined lack of nutrients with levels of protein and calcium, which are a source of sufficient conditions for healthy eggs and babies,” he said.

He added that in order for the turtle eggs to be good quality and actually hatch instead of die, the centre team had added high-protein and calcium-rich foods to all the turtles at the centre, especially the adult turtles.

However, he said that since Steve hatched, there has been quite a bit of promise for more hatchlings. So far this year, the centre has received nine new nests that hold a total of 80 eggs.

The nine turtle eggs could cause someone to conclude that there are currently nine turtles and in one to two years, there may be another 20 to 30 turtles.

“We have noticed that the eggs have good hard shells and up to 50 per cent of them show signs of embryo development. The centre hopes that the turtle eggs will successfully hatch soon,” he said.

He went on to say that the royal turtle is a species of tortoise that takes many years to grow up and breed.

According to studies of nature in Malaysia, the female turtle is only 20 to 25 years old before it can reproduce. But at the KKRCC, the royal turtle is only 14 to 15 years old before it can reproduce.

“The conservation of royal turtles is very difficult, both for breeding and for conservation work in the field, because it takes a long time for them to breed and grow up,” he said, adding that there are currently a total of 154 royal turtles in the KKRCC.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former