Tortoise and freshwater turtle field skills training course: Building the capacity of students in Cambodia
Conservation International, in cooperation with the Vietnam-based Asian Turtle Program, has undertaken the country's first formal student training initiative focused on developing experience and training in conservation of Cambodia?s tortoises and freshwater turtles. The Field Skills Development Training course, which was funded by a Shellshock grant from Chester Zoo, was hosted by CI and the Forestry Administration at the Thma Bang ranger station in the Cardamom Mountains Protected Forest from 8-16th November 2006.
The trainees were students and recent graduates from the Royal University of Agriculture and the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Two scholarships are to be made available to course participants to carry out turtle research projects of their own design, thereby encouraging further involvement in turtle research in Cambodia while providing data that will help conservationists. An additional two grants will be given to students who wish to conduct turtle-related research for their final year thesis. CI staff will provide in-country mentoring and technical support.
The course consisted of a series of lectures combined with hands-on practical activities in the forests and rivers of the Central Cardamoms. This course, which was adapted from a turtle field skills training course in Vietnam, provides students with an introduction to field research. It aims to encourage further interest and provide opportunities for involvement in turtle research and conservation in Cambodia. The course provided training in core topics including turtle identification, scientific research questions and study design, interview-based surveys, survey methods, measuring and mapping, documenting field records, and nesting and reproduction. The role of research in conservation was also discussed so the trainees would understand the importance of basing conservation activities on good scientific data.
Support for the training course was kindly provided by a Shellshock grant from the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria (EAZA) conservation campaign, with technical support from Conservation International and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
For more information please contact:
Additional information about conservation activities across the region can be viewed on the Asian Turtle Conservation Network website: asianturtlenetwork.org