PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Conservationists say they have transferred more than 200 of the nearly extinct Royal Turtles to a new purpose-built breeding and conservation center, easing fears the rare species will disappear in Cambodia.
In a statement Tuesday, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said 206 Royal Turtles have been released into the facility, the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center, in western Cambodia.
The center is a joint effort between the government's fishery department and the society.
The Royal Turtle is one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles. Also known as the Southern River terrapin, the Royal Turtle is so named because in historical times only the royal family could consume its eggs. The species was designated as Cambodia's national reptile in 2005.