Rare turtle rediscovered, new plant discovered, in Cambodia

This video from the Philippines says about itself:

Doc Nielsen Donato treats rare Cantor soft-shelled turtle in Cagayan

4 April 2015

A rare and endangered species of turtle was accidentally caught in Aparri, Cagayan. Doc Nielsen Donato helps treat the animal to prevent its death.

From WWF:

Rare soft-shell turtle found in Cambodia

16 May 2007

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – One of the world’s largest and least studied freshwater turtles has been found in Cambodia’s Mekong River, raising hopes that the threatened species can be saved from extinction.

Scientists from WWF, Conservation International, the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team captured an 11-kilogramme (24.2-pound) female Cantor’s giant soft-shell turtle during a recent river survey.

“This incredible discovery means that a unique turtle can be saved from disappearing from our planet,” said David Emmett, a wildlife biologist at Conservation International.

“We thought it might be almost gone, but found a number of them on this one pristine stretch of the Mekong, making the area the world’s most important site for saving this particular species.”

Stuck in the mud

Instead of an exterior shell commonly associated with turtles, the Cantor’s giant soft-shell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) has a rubbery skin with ribs fused together to form a protective layer over the internal organs.

To protect itself from predators, it spends 95 per cent of its life hidden in sand or mud with only its eyes and nose showing.

The turtle can grow up to 2 metres (6 feet) in length and weigh more than 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds).

It also possesses long claws and can extend its neck with lightning speed to bite with jaws powerful enough to crush bone.

“It has the fastest strike of any animal I’ve ever seen, including cobras,” Emmett added.

The researchers also found a nesting ground for the species and brought back eggs that have since hatched.

The hatchlings were released into the wild on 8 May, together with another adult turtle and additional hatchlings captured by fishermen.

Last observed by scientists in the wild in Cambodia in 2003, only a few records of the species exist for Laos, and it appears to have disappeared across much of its former range in Vietnam and Thailand. …

“During our survey we also discovered an entirely new plant species, Amorphophallus Sp., along with populations of such threatened species as terns, fish eagles, green peafowl, otters and silvered leaf-monkeys.

More than 180 fish species were recorded, including one identified as a new species of spiny eel.

Bezuijen described the area where the turtle was discovered as “a near pristine region of tall riverine forest, waterways and island archipelagos where further exciting biological discoveries will almost certainly be made.”

A further survey of the area by an international team of flora and fauna experts is planned for July 2007.

See also here.

Conservation International (CI), together with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and the Association of Buddhists for the Environment, have opened the Mekong Turtle Conservation Center (MTCC) in central Cambodia with the ceremonial release of 50 Cantor’s softshell adult turtle and hatchlings into a protected conservation pond. Fauna & Flora International, through the Conservation Leadership Programme, has been supporting this team of Cambodian turtle conservationists since 2004: here.

Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle: here.

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2011) — A research team from the Senckenberg Research Institute Dresden has identified many different genetic lineages in the softshell turtle genus Pelodiscus, representing different species. Traditionally it has been assumed that only the species Pelodiscus sinensis belonged to the genus examined. As a foodstuff, Chinese softshell turtles are the most economically important turtles in the world, with an annual trade volume of many hundreds of millions of specimens: here.

6 thoughts on “Rare turtle rediscovered, new plant discovered, in Cambodia

  1. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008922story_22-9-2008_pg6_1

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Rare otter species found in Vietnam

    Researchers said Thursday they have found two hairy-nosed otters, which have been listed as the world’s rarest species, in a national park in southern Vietnam. Scientists came across the pair in U Minh Ha National Park in March, according to a statement from the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program. “We were only about two and half metres away from them when we spotted the two otters. It was truly amazing to see such a rare species in the wild,” said research officer Nguyen Van Nhuan.

    Hairy-nosed otters were thought to be extinct in the 1990s. However, they have since been rediscovered in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. The most recent record of the species in Vietnam was from 2000 in Ca Mau province, which is home to U Minh Thuong National Park.

    Nhuan described the animal as “notoriously shy and mostly nocturnal.” It eats fish, frogs, reptiles, snakes and insects. “Their survival is critically linked to protection of their habitat which is peat swampland and seasonally flooded forests,” he said in the statement. afp


  2. Are these turtles only located in the mekong river? A few weeks ago a few friends and I were fishing on the Ohio river (jefferson county ohio) and one of them caugth a turtle that really closely resembles the turtle shown here, it wasnt very big, maybe around 5 or 7 lbs. But I’ve never seen them here before and was curious if there were any turtles that are in my area that looked like this but were from a different family.


  3. It’s hard enough hiding from predators like waterbirds and large fish. But Cantor’s giant softshell turtles face an even bigger threat: the human beings who poach their eggs for dinner.

    Nature, and the people who rely on it, have never needed our help more. Please make a donation to Conservation International (CI) today.

    Saving Turtles, Helping People

    Cantor’s giant softshell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) lives in the waters of the Mekong River in southeast Asia. It’s one of the rarest turtle species in the world — thought extinct in Cambodia until 2007, when a small population was found on a stretch of the Cambodian Mekong.

    Habitat loss and nest disturbance have played a role in the turtle’s decline. But the main threat comes from the poaching of turtle eggs. So since 2007, CI-Cambodia has worked with fishermen and other villagers to protect turtle nests and release turtles accidentally caught in nets.

    This program has already helped 1,000 turtles. And this week, the Mekong Turtle Conservation Center will open in a riverside village, providing local people with stable employment opportunities.

    This work would not be possible without the support of people like you.


  4. Pingback: New snub-nosed monkey species discovered in Burma | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Partridges, pheasants, tit at Pamuling monastery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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