November 25, 2005

Turtle Trade in Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodian Turtle Conservation Project (CTCP)

On 20 November 2005 my colleague, Sorn Pheakdey working WCS, Cambodia and I, CTCP, went to a market called Tom Nob market that located in Toul Kork distict, PP, Cambodia. It is just a small market and during our visit we found three different turtle among 33 live turtles were putting in a small bowl and selling to marketers. We also identified that there were 17 vulnerable Asian box turtles Cuora amboinensis, 15 Malayan snail-eating turtles Malayemys subtrijuga and one endangered yellow headed temple turtle Hieremys annandalii. In total there were about 2 kg of turtles of 33 turtles. All turtles were brought from Prek Phnov Lake where located in about 20 Kilometers the North of Phnom Penh. The seller said that they used fishing traps to catch turtles.

We recognized that all turtle were very small because the biggest one was just 6.5 cm length and some were very small. We found that most people they bought turtles for releasing and place that they are releasing are in pagoda ponds. We met a woman who bought a pair of turtles said that the reason she bought turtle because she had a pity on these turtles as they were so small.

The price of turtle was 1500 to 2000 Riels for one turtle and the price will come up if they sell on every Buddhist day and especially on full moon day because people believe that if they release turtles on those days like they absolve their sins with turtles and they will achieve their goodness or merit.

Submitted by Sitha Som
Cambodian Turtle Conservation Project (CTCP)
E-mail:  [email protected]