Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mekong turtle

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A wonderful discovery in Cambodia:

One of the world's largest turtles, said to be on the brink of extinction, has been found in abundance in a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in Cambodia.

Conservationists discovered an 11kg (24lb) female Cantor's giant soft-shell turtle and a nesting ground during a survey of the country's Mekong River.

The species, which can grow two metres (6ft) long and weigh 50kg (110lb) was last spotted in Cambodia in 2003.

Scientists say the find could help save it from disappearing off the planet.

And this is some turtle. It "has a rubbery skin and a powerful bite, with jaws strong enough to crush bone," and "[i]t spends most of its time hidden in sand with only its eyes or nose showing".

A big problem is that the Vietnamese eat this "expensive delicacy". Hopefully this discovery will at least ward off extinction and perhaps even allow the species to flourish.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share