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Eight rare young Siamese crocodiles have been discovered in Cambodia

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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For the first time in almost a decade, a research team from Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) discovered eight hatchlings of the highly endangered Siamese crocodile in northeastern Mondulkiri province, according to a joint statement released on Tuesday.

The discovery was made early this month at one of the search sites where Siamese crocodile dung and footprints were collected during the dry season this year, according to the statement, adding that the reptile hatchlings are safe in their natural habitat under the strict protection of the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary rangers.

The discovery, according to Environment Minister Say Samal, emphasizes the importance of the Srepok wilderness area as a worldwide hotspot with high potential for reversing biodiversity loss and restoring globally significant fauna.

“This joyful news also underscores Cambodia’s relevance for the protection of this exceedingly rare crocodile and other vital species,” he said. “Cambodia is home to one-of-a-kind natural riches, which are a great source of national pride for all Cambodians.”

He stated that the Ministry of Environment is willing to collaborate with all international non-governmental organizations, community groups, and other partners to conserve and safeguard Cambodia’s natural forests and wildlife heritage for the long-term social and economic benefits of current and future generations. After more than a decade of investigation in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area located inside the Eastern Plains Landscape, the discovery is the first photographic evidence of a Siamese crocodile breeding population.

“During the hatching season, the research team conducts regular field monitoring, and for this specific trip, we spent four nights scouting the crocodile habitat places, from 7:00 p.m. till past midnight around 2:00 a.m. to see the animal,” said Sothea Bun, a member of the study team.

“Then came the wonderful moment when one of our team members first noticed the eye-shine of crocodile hatchlings,” he explained.

According to Milou Groenenberg, WWF biodiversity research and monitoring manager, this discovery is considered a breakthrough in the study of the species in Srepok because previous reports of breeding comprised of unconfirmed reports from many years ago and photographic evidence of hatchlings was never accumulated before.

“We were previously unsure whether the resident population still had breeding pairs to date, as well as whether any nests existed and clutches successfully hatched,” she explained. “The Srepok discovery gives hope for Siamese crocodile conservation and wild survival, and it is an important finding for the species in Cambodia and beyond.”

The freshwater Siamese crocodile, which is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, was previously widespread across Southeast Asia but had vanished from much of its range by the early 1990s.

The report shows that Cambodia is a global bastion for the species, with an estimated 200-400 individuals left in the wild, and the overall global population does not surpass 1,000 mature individuals.

According to the statement, the main threats to the Siamese crocodile include habitat loss and degradation, poaching supported by the illicit wildlife trade and historically to supply crocodile farms, hybridization with other crocodile species, and damaging illegal fishing methods.

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Developmental projects of Maldives progressing substantially

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India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar has affirmed that the developmental projects of the Maldives carried out with the assistance of India have been progressing considerably. The remarks were made by the minister during the Confederation of Indian Industry (CIIs) Annual Business Summit.

Speaking at the summit, Minister Jaishankar stated that some developmental projects were slightly politically influenced, hindering the progress. However, he assured that the progress of the projects have propelled at a notable rate.

Following the Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer’s official visit to India at the invitation of Minister Jaishankar, discussions were held highlighting the spectrum of initiatives across the nation has been kickstarted through loans and grants from the Government of India during the previous administration. He emphasised the current government’s commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects.

Meanwhile, the Government of India has reaffirmed its commitment to the development and prosperity of the Maldives by extending a budgetary support of USD 50 million to be repaid within a term of one year.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Police officers complete training to prevent maritime terrorism acts

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A team of 22 police officers has successfully completed a specialised training programme focused on thwarting maritime terrorism activities.

Entitled “Training on Strengthening Capabilities to Disrupt Maritime Crimes as Related to Terrorist Threats,” the program was conducted through a collaborative effort between the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Running from May 13 to 15, the intensive training equipped participants with essential skills and knowledge crucial for combating threats in maritime environments.

The concluding ceremony, graced by the presence of Chief Superintendent of Police Ibrahim Adnan Anees, Head of Marine Police, along with senior officials from the Marine Police Department, UNODC’s Head of Office Enrico Boninsegna, and course instructor Kenneth Alferdo Pennington, highlighted the significance of such initiatives in enhancing national security.

Addressing the gathering, Adnan underscored the importance of ongoing education and skill development, urging participants to actively apply the knowledge garnered from the program in their professional endeavors.

The training, conducted at Dhoonidhoo, Kaafu Atoll, imparted vital insights into the prevention and detection of maritime terrorism activities, emphasizing protocols for safe navigation in high-risk areas. Furthermore, officers received guidance on investigative procedures essential for effectively addressing such crimes, thereby bolstering the nation’s capabilities in combating maritime threats.

Source(s): PsmNews

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President reverts land act amendment to parliament

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has reverted the Ninth Amendment Bill to the Maldives Land Act to Parliament for further consideration.

This bill, which seeks to establish criteria for recipients of residential land and mandates that land be allocated within three months of the publication of the permanent list of recipients in the gazette, was initially passed during the twenty-second sitting of Parliament’s first session this year and sent to the President’s Office for ratification on May 2.

In returning the bill, President Muizzu invoked Article 91(a) of the Constitution, which grants the President the authority to return legislation to Parliament for reconsideration.

The President’s Office has confirmed this, indicating the need for further review and potential revisions to the proposed amendment.

Source(s): PsmNews

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