A large Asiatic soft-shell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) weighing 33.39 kg arrived now a safe shelter, according to the Wonders of the Mekong.
The turtle has been given by Mr. Sreng Chheng Orn to the Kampong Cham Fisheries Cantonment. Mr. Ouk Narin, Head of Kampong Cham Fisheries Cantonment, decided to hand over this turtle to the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the Fisheries Administration, which is collaborating with the Wonders of the Mekong Project for conservation.
The turtle, which measures 40 cm by 68 cm, will be cared for at the Freshwater Aquaculture Research and Development Centre in Prey Veng province until it is deemed healthy enough to release and a suitable habitat is found.
During the handover ceremony at Kampong Cham Fisheries Cantonment, Mr. Ouk Narin said that the receiving of this Asiatic soft-shell turtle was a result of outreach efforts from the Fisheries Cantonment so far. “In all closed seasons, besides disseminating the notice of closed seasons, I always call on fishermen to protect and conserve fish and other endangered species that are present in the province,” he added.
Mr. Thach Phanara, Chief of the Laboratory of the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the Fisheries Administration, expressed his gratitude toward the kindness of Mr. Sreng Chheng Orn who handed over this huge turtle. “I am very delighted that more and more fishermen engage in protection and conservation work, especially of rare and endangered species such as the giant freshwater stingray, tortoises, turtles and so on. Obviously, today is a clear indication of their full understanding about the importance of this work,’ he continued.
Mr. Sreng Chheng Orn, 37, is an occasional fisherman who encountered the Asiatic soft-shell turtle while converting land near his home. He stated, “When I first saw that turtle, I was both happy and anxious. It was huge and heavy. I was not able to pull it out of the water alone, so I called my nephew to help me to get it out of the water. Later, I realised that it is a rare species, so I decided to hand it over to the Kampong Cham Fisheries Cantonment in response to their call.”
The Asiatic soft-shell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) inhabits freshwater regions and can be found throughout Asia, especially in Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. This type of turtle is a nocturnal animal and it prefers to spend most of its time in the water, but it goes on land once in a while. Generally, Asiatic soft-shell turtles can stay still and make no movement in the swamps for hours to wait for their prey. Their main diet includes fish, snails and insects; however, it also feeds on plants. The Asiatic softshell turtle is now listed on the IUCN Red List as “Vulnerable.”
Source: Agence Kampuchea Press