Southern River Terrapin

Southern river terrapins were believed extinct in Cambodia until 2001 when a small population was re-discovered by WCS. Today, they are critically endangered and considered one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles with only approximately 700 remaining from the formerly widespread population in Indochina. 

WCS and a suite of partners are now working together for the conservation of the Southern river terrapin, implementing a combination of methods that have prevented the extinction of the Cambodian population. Community members protect nests from predators, illegal harvest, and other threats, while hatchlings have been moved to a locally managed head-starting facility. The oldest animals are now large enough to minimize predation, so releases to augment the wild population have begun. WCS veterinarians have supported the captive breeding program since it began, conducting health examinations, diagnostic and genetic screenings, advising on husbandry issues and assisting with the placement of satellite transmitters on re-released terrapins. The successful release of terrapins has significantly boosted wild populations.


Southern river terrapin Photo Credit: Sitha Som, WCS

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