Conserving Cambodia and Looking After Their Endangered Wildlife
After a 20 year war that finished in 1998, Cambodian is now on the road to recovery, while taking steps to preserve their unique wildlife.
The Royal Turtle is also known as the Southern River Terrapin, is one of the world’s rarest freshwater turtles and is Cambodia’s National Reptile.
This environmentally sensitive reptile is listed on the critically endangered list, but to the delight of many – a nest of eggs was found by a villager along the Keong River in February.
This was such a rare find and the only nest found so far in 2017, compared to two nests discovered in 2016 and three in 2015.
“This is a big concern,” says Som Sitha from the Fisheries Administration and Wildlife Conservation Society.” If sand dredging, illegal clearance and illegal fishing continues, our national reptile will face a high risk of extinction.”
A team from the Fisheries Administration and Wildlife Conservation Society was sent to the scene to investigate.
Deciding that this was such a rare and important find, they decided to erect a fence around the area to protect the eggs. They even went so far as to employ a security guard Long Sman – whose sole job was to guard the endangered eggs to the point of hatching.
Long Sman fastidiously guarded the eggs for 3 months and having pride in his job, knowing full well that he was playing a part in helping sustainability grow in Cambodia.
“I am proud of the results and being part of conserving Cambodia,” he said, knowing that he is helping preserve The Royal Turtle for future generations to come.
Nine hatchlings were born and have now been transferred to Koh Krong Reptile Conservation Centre. Here they will be fed and cared for, with the hope that they can be used for breeding programs in the future.
The Cambodian government is doing all they can to help replenish the numbers so that they can be released back into the wild and rebuild the population of The Royal Turtle in Cambodia. They are making big strides in Conserving Cambodia and looking After Their Endangered Wild Life