200 Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle Hatchlings Released in Mekong River in Kratie Province

The Fisheries Administration (FiA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) this morning released 200 Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle hatchlings of 15 to 30 days of age into the Mekong River, on the occasion of the World Turtle Day (May 23).

The release took place in Koh Peng, Yeav village, Kampong Cham commune, Sambour district, Kratie province.

Mr. Ouk Vibol, Director of Fisheries Conservation Department of FiA, said this is the 4th release of this turtle species this year, while the three previous releases were in March and April, also in Sambour district, with 654 Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtles.

Since 2007, some 800 Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle hatchlings are released into the Mekong every year, he added.

According to WCS, there are currently five groups of nest protectors: four in Sambour district of Kratie province and one in Siem Bok district of Stung Treng province. From 2007 to 2019, 449 nests of Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtles of 12,985 eggs have been discovered on 60 different beaches in the two provinces. With good care from the nest protectors, 10,128 have been successfully hatched, or 78 percent of the eggs, including the 1,005 hatchlings during this year's egg laying season from November 2018 to May 2019.

Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) is currently classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Turtle was rediscovered in 2007 along the Mekong River, about 48 kilometre stretching from Kratie to Stung Treng province by a group of conservationists.

FiA and WCS have been working to conserve the species through nest protection programme, law enforcement patrols, education and awareness raising among local fishermen and students.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press