Giant Asian Pond Turtle and Soft Shell Turtle saved from the illegal wildlife trade – Release Video

While on patrol, Pangolin Station (Stung Proat) rescued 7 Giant Asian Pond Turtle and one Soft Shell turtle from the illegal wildlife trade.

The Giant Asian pond turtle (Heosemys grandis) inhabits rivers, streams, marshes, and ricepaddies from estuarine lowlands to moderate altitudes (up to about 400 m) throughout Cambodia and Vietnam and in parts of Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Slight variations in coloration can be seen among the species. The carapace of the Giant Asian pond turtle has a brown to black coloration with a distinct ridge along the center while the plastron is yellow in color. The head is gray to brown in color.

Capable of living in water or on land the Giant Asian pond turtle can be located along bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and canals. The Giant Asian pond turtle is omnivorous and finds food in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Their diets consist of worms, larvae, insects, snails, deceased animals, and aquatic and terrestrial plants. Similarly to other species of turtles, the Giant Asian pond turtle has developed adaptations and different techniques for capturing prey in both types of environments.

Major Threats

A large area of concern is from the illegal capture and export of these turtles for use as food and pets in parts of Asia.


One of Wildlife Alliance’s original stations (est. 2002), the Pangolin Station (Stung Proat station) opened to combat rampant wildlife poaching. Located near the village of Chi Phat, an ex-hunting community turned Community-Based Ecotourism program, the area was littered with snares and bombarded with hunters. Although poaching has lessened due to 15+ years of ranger presence and the alternative livelihoods provided to the village of Chi Phat, the landscape is ideal habitat for many of Cambodia’s iconic wildlife species and as a result is still targeted by outside hunters. The station is also located near our Wildlife Release Station to keep poachers far away from the newly released rescued animals, including Critically Endangered Sunda pangolins. The patrol quadrant is also located in the heart of an Asian elephant corridor, making it imperative that the forest is kept safe.