Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback

Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
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Elena Ryurikovna, wife of EU Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar, releases a royal turtle (southern river terrapin) into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
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A boy looks at royal turtles (southern river terrapins) during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
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Royal turtles (southern river terrapins) are seen during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
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Royal turtles (southern river terrapins) are seen during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback

Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
  • Royal Turtles — formally classified as Southern River Terrapins — have been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting and sand mining, which destroyed the banks where they lay their eggs

BOEUNG TRACH, Cambodia: Twenty critically endangered ‘Royal Turtles’ were released into a remote stretch of a Cambodian river Friday — a species once feared extinct because of hunting, trafficking and illegal sand mining.
With chants from Buddhist monks and a flotilla of ceremonial flowers behind them, the reptiles inched into the Sre Ambel river system, in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province.
Conservationists hope they will form new breeding populations.
Cambodia is home to several populations of endangered turtles, coveted as delicacies and traditional medicine in Vietnam and China.
Royal Turtles — formally classified as Southern River Terrapins — have been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting and sand mining, which destroyed the banks where they lay their eggs.
The damage was so severe that in 2000 they were feared wiped out in Cambodia, before nests were found and a careful conservation effort began.
“Our team raised them since they hatched until now... these turtles are 12 or 13 years old,” Som Sitha, technical adviser to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which ran the scheme with the help of EU funds.
“We are releasing them to restore their numbers in nature. We hope that these turtles will breed in the near future,” he said, urging local communities to help protect them.


No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
Updated 20 January 2021

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
  • Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison
OKLAHOMA CITY: One name missing in President Donald Trump’s flurry of pardons is “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.
His team was so confident in a pardon that they’d readied a celebratory limousine and a hair and wardrobe team to whisk away the zookeeper-turned-reality-TV-star, who is now serving a 22-year federal prison sentence in Texas. But he wasn’t on the list announced Wednesday morning.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. Baskin was not harmed.
Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. A jury convicted him in April 2019.
In his pardon application filed in September, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys argued that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is scheduled to be released from custody in 2037, but his attorneys said in the application that “he will likely die in prison” because of health concerns.
Maldonado-Passage’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.
The blond mullet-wearing zookeeper, known for his expletive-laden rants on YouTube and a failed 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign, was prominently featured in the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”