Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback

1 / 4
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)
2 / 4
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)
3 / 4
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)
4 / 4
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

  • 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.


Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

Updated 13 November 2019

Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

ATHENS, Greece: An ancient Greek cup awarded as a prize to the marathon winner in the first modern Olympics of 1896 has been returned to Athens from a German university.
Greece’s Culture Ministry says the 6th century B.C. pottery vessel was considered lost for decades until research in 2014 by archaeologist Giorgos Kavvadias identified it in the University of Muenster’s collections.
A ministry statement says it was proved “beyond any doubt” that the two-handled cup painted with ancient runners was the one given to Spiros Louis, the Greek marathon victor in 1896.
Following correspondence with Greek officials, the university agreed to return the cup, which was part of a private German collection it had bought in 1986.
The vessel was presented at a ceremony Wednesday at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.