Cantor's giant soft-shelled turtle

(Pelochelys cantorii)

Called the Frog Head Turtle in Khmer language, the Asian Giant Softshell Turtle is easily recognised by its broad head, with eyes close to tip of snout. Its habitats are the river swamps, estuaries, and mudflats in lowland areas.
Cambodia is believed to have a number of significant populations of this species and might be the most important population in the region, whereas the Vietnamese population is probably extinct and the Lao and Thai populations are very small and also on the edge of extinction.


Easily collected

Turtles are usually easily collected by using bamboo traps, hunting dogs, and by burning brush. A vast majority of collected turtles are probably sold to local and international traders. Turtles that are harvested but not sold, because of a lack of demand from traders, are probably consumed by the hunters.

Trade to Vietnam
According to a survey, the illegal international trade of Cambodian turtles to Vietnam is disturbingly large.

Also, there is a domestic trade in turtles, which are used for meat, eggs, Khmer and Chinese medicine, decoration, and pets. However, the domestic trade is considered minor when compared to the much larger international one.

IUCN Red List: Endangered
CITES Appendix (Not Listed)
 / ©: WWF Lao PDR
An Asian giant softshell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) caught by a fisherman in Lao PDR’s Attapeu Province.
© WWF Lao PDR

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