Endangered king turtle lays eggs for the first time in captivity

The animal was among the five royal turtles that were once considered extinct in the country. Generally

Cambodia is home to several populationsendangered turtles, which have declined in numbers due to demand in Vietnam and China as delicacies and for use in traditional medicine.

Royal turtles were on the brinkextinctions due to hunting and sand mining, which erode the shores on which they lay their eggs. The damage was so severe that in 2000 the animal was on the verge of extinction in Cambodia.

This week Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS) announced that four captive royal turtles and one that was donated to its conservation center in the southwestern Koh Kong province of Cambodia have successfully laid 71 eggs.

“This is the first time that captive female king turtles have laid eggs since they arrived at the center in 2006,” said Som Sita, WCS Conservation Project Manager.

Given the rarity of this species in the wild, a successful egg-laying is considered a huge win for Cambodia.

“We expect to be able to produce large numbers of royal turtles in captivity soon and release them back into the wild,” said Stephen Platt of WCS.

Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center is the only oneThe Kingdom's Specialized Turtle Conservation Facility - currently contains 192 king turtles and plans to release 50 of them this year.

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