Endangered Asian Giant Softshell Turtle Nest Found In Cambodia

December 19, 2017

Conservationists with Cambodia’s fisheries administration discovered a nest of an Asian giant softshell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) also known as the Cantor's softshell turtle, on a sandbar in the Mekong River in northeastern Cambodia. It marks the first such nest found this breeding season, in an area described as the only remaining section of the river where the big turtles still breed.

Since 2007, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, 378 Pelochelys cantorii nests have been protected on the river which resulted in 8,528 hatchlings.

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The Asian giant softshell turtle was initially thought to have gone extinct in the Cambodian section of the Mekong River until 2007, when researchers rediscovered the turtles along a 48 kilometer stretch of the river, according to Phys.org.

It is currently listed as endangered by the IUCN as it has largely disappeared in much of its natural range. The Asian giant softshell turtle grows to up to 1.8 meters in length and is known as the largest freshwater turtle in the world. Largely a carnivore, the Asian giant softshell turtle feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and fish. In addition to Cambodia, the Asian giant softshell turtle can be found in China, Bangladesh, Burma, Malyasia, Philippines, Thailand, India, Laos and Vietnam.

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