By SOPHENG CHEANG
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Conservationists have found a nest of the endangered Asian giant softshell turtle on a Mekong River sandbar in northeastern Cambodia, while 115 new species of various other animal and plant life have been discovered in the greater Mekong region.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said Tuesday that a nest of Asian giant softshell turtles was found on the Mekong between Kratie and Stung Treng provinces by conservationists from Cambodia’s fisheries administration, the WCS and local communities. It said it was the first spotting of such a nest so far this season.
It said the area is the only remaining location in Cambodia where the huge turtles still breed.
The Asian giant softshell turtle has been listed as globally endangered. It was thought to be extinct in the Cambodian portion of the Mekong River until conservationists rediscovered the turtles in 2007 along a 48-kilometer (30-mile) stretch of the river between Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.
The WCS said that since 2007, some 378 nests have been protected and 8,528 hatchlings released.
Meanwhile, the WWF issued a statement Tuesday saying that some 115 new species in the Greater Mekong region had been discovered by scientists.
It said that scientists from around the world conducted research in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, and discovered 11 species of amphibians, two fish, 11 reptiles, 88 plants and three mammals.
The discoveries include a beautifully colored frog found in the limestone karst mountains of Vietnam, according to the statement.