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Cardamom Mountain Project Update

The preliminary results of interview-based surveys carried out in the Central Cardamom Mountains showed more than 90% of the interviewees (N=60 households) confirming the presence of three species; Indotestudo elongata , Cyclemys atripons , and Amyda cartilaginea.

The turtle research and conservation project, administered by students from Royal University of Phnom Penh with support from a BP Conservation Award, is surveying tortoises and freshwater turtles in the Central Cardamom Mountains, and planning conservation activities that will help protect wild populations within this biologically important landscape.

The interview-based surveys suggest that other species may be present in the area as well. Between 50-90% of the local interviewees reported Pelochelys cantorii, Malayemys subtrijug, and Heosemys grandis as being other species native to the area. Fewer numbers of interviewees suggested that Manouria impressa, Cuora amboinensis and Hieremys annandalii could be found there as well.

So far, trapping efforts in the Areng Valley have yielded confirmed records for Amyda cartilaginea and Cyclemys atripons . Shells belonging to Indotestudo elongata and Heosemys grandis were also recovered from local villages in the valley, in addition to three live juvenile and adult Indotestudo elongata found in surrounding forest.

Conservation International (CI) is providing technical support for the student project, and plans through 2004 involve carrying out additional surveys and trapping in lowland river and marsh habitat, and surveying higher elevations for Manouria impressa.
Cardamom field biologist David Emmett of CI noted that future survey efforts would be assisted by two turtle dogs that were recently acquired after they were abandoned by fleeing poachers.


14th June 2004
Press release by the Asian Turtle Conservation Network


About the Cardamom Mountains Turtle and Freshwater Tortoise Project

The 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 wild populations.

Cambodia's turtles are threatened by hunting and trade. The Cardamom Mountains comprises one of the last remaining areas of wilderness in Cambodia. Isolated by remote mountain terrain, the CCPF contains at least five globally threatened tortoise and freshwater turtle species.

Under the project, supported by a BP Conservation Award, Khmer students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh will assess the species composition, distribution and abundance, ecology, values of, and threats to turtles native to the CCPF. Technical support is being provided by Conservation International, presently managing a conservation program in cooperation with the Forestry Administration in the Central Cardamom Mountains.

This project is intended to guide regional conservation and management actions, and will provide baseline data for monitoring protected area management and community-based natural resource management activities.

The project involves four main activities:

(1) Training of six students in basic survey and identification techniques,

(2) Interview-based surveys in local communities to gain information on the presence, status, and perceived threats to native species,

(3) Carry out field-surveys of tortoises and turtles across a range of habitats;

(4) Develop culture-sensitive public awareness and education activities, targeting local communities, and people.


Support for this student project is provided by Conservation International (CI)


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