Tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation in the Cardamom Mountains

Sitha Som

This project aims to develop ongoing tortoise and freshwater turtle research and conservation activities in and around the Central Cardamoms Protected Forest (CCPF), Cambodia, to help reduce threats to its wild populations. The number of Asian turtle and tortoise species that are considered threatened is rapidly growing due to pressures from wildlife trade and collection for local consumption, so prompt action is necessary to prevent extinctions. The CCPF contains at least five Globally Threatened tortoise and turtle species, and is an area where the survival of secure populations in their natural habitats can be achieved with high probability of success. Khmer students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s leading centre of higher education, will implement the project with support from the Royal Cambodian Government and Conservation International, who jointly manage the CCPF. Students will (i) Interview local communities to gain information on the presence of species and perceived threats; (ii) Conduct field-surveys of tortoises and turtles across a range of habitats; and (iii) Develop culture-sensitive public awareness and education activities, targeting local communities. This project will guide regional Conservation and Management actions, and will provide baseline data for monitoring Protected Area Management and Community-Based Natural Resource Management activities.

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