By WCS-Cambodia

Young adult Southern River Terrapins (Batagur affinis), or Royal Turtles, are released into Cambodia’s Sre Ambel River.

On Jan 10, 2020, our partners WCS Cambodia, the Department of Fisheries Conservation of Fisheries Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in collaboration with Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), released 20 critically endangered Royal Turtles (Batagur affinis) into the Sre Ambel River system in Dong Peng commune, Sre Ambel district, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia.

20 young adult Royal Turtles await release in a holding pen during the release ceremony.
The Royal Turtles are blessed by Buddhist Monks prior to their release into the wild.

The Royal Turtle release is the result of nearly two decades of turtle nest protection, care for the young turtles in the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Centre, and community-based protection of turtles on the Sre Ambel River, funded by WRS and others. This was the fourth release of Royal Turtles into the Sre Ambel River, following releases in 2015, 2017 and 2019, totaling 86 turtles.

H.E Srun Limsong, Deputy Director of Fisheries Administration, delivers an address during the release ceremony.
The 20 turtles, all affixed with acoustic transmitters, are released into the Sre Ambel River, the only known home of the Royal Turtle.

The release ceremony was presided over by H.E Srun Limsong, Deputy Director of Fisheries Administration, Ms. Isabel Cheng, Chief Marketing Officer of WRS, Mr. Ouk Vibol, Director of Department of Fisheries Conservation of the Fisheries Administration, and attended by Deputy Director of Sre Ambel District Hall Administration, Directors of Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk Provincial Departments of Agriculture, representatives from Fisheries Administration Cantonment, local authority, WCS representative, monks, local communities, teachers and students, totalling 150 strong.

To READ MORE about the conservation of the Southern River Terrapin, order your 2019 copy of Turtle Survival, the TSA’s annual magazine, HERE.

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