The Star
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Rare terrapin carcass found

KUALA TERENGGANU: The carcass of a rare giant freshwater terrapin was discovered along the banks of the Terengganu river, indicating that the extremely rare species exists here.

 The Asian giant soft-shelled terrapin, scientifically known as Pelochelys cantorii, was first discovered alive near Pulau Kambing here a few days ago by personnel of the state Marine Park unit nearby the unit dock.

Kolej Universiti Science and Technology (Kustem) Turtle Research and Rehabilitation scientist Prof Chan Eng Heng, who was informed about the discovery, will be conducting an autopsy soon.

 Prof Chan said she was intrigued when told of the find.

?This species is hard to find in any part of the globe and initially I was told that there was a pair sighted alive in the river,? she told The Star yesterday.

It is sad that this rare species should die perhaps due to pollution or consumption of indigestible materials.

She said the dead terrapin, weighing almost 40kg and 1.3m long, had been brought to Kustem for the autopsy.

 Prof Chan said the species was mostly found in freshwater but would travel to beach areas to lay eggs.

?The last time this Asian giant soft-shelled terrapin was spotted here was a few years ago, but it was much smaller than the dead terrapin,? she added.

 Prof Chan said the other discovery was made in Cambodia in 2002.

 Local fishermen had attempted to trade it to a foreign buyer but was foiled by the authorities there.

?I will inform the state government of the discovery as the species probably could exist here and some conservation effort should be made to ensure they don?t become extinct,? she added.

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