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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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Top10 students need to become teachers: Dr. Aishath Ali

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Education Minister Dr. Aishath Ali has stated that students who were placed in the Top 10 need to become teachers and educators.

She made the statement speaking in the Top Achiever’s Award 2019 ceremony, held Sunday night.

In her address, the Minister said that Maldives had the capacity to press ahead in academic endeavors, and one of the ways to do this was to invest in teachers. Therefore, she said, it was imperative that the best minds present head towards teaching and educating.

The Minister said that in the past 30 years, several thousand Maldivians had been placed in the global top ten. Success, she added, was not solely dependent on academic achievement but also on how much one contributed to the society and country.

Dr. Aishath further commended the parents for their unwavering belief in their children and the innumerable sacrifices.

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Maldives to host an annual invitational football tournament

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Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof says that the President has instructed him to host an annual invitational football tournament.

Speaking to the press, Minister Mahloof said the success of the Oooredoo SAFF Championship highlighted the passion the country has toward football. This, he said, was the core factor for the success of the tournament. Based on this, the Minister said that the President had given a recommendation that the Maldives must host an annual invitational tournament.

Mahloof did not reveal additional details. However, he said that Bassam Adeel Jaleel, President of the Football Association of the Maldives, we’re hammering out the details.

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President says government stands ready to support all students to achieve their ambitions in their field of choice

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that his government has and will continue to stand ready to fully support all students to achieve their career ambitions in their field of choice. The President made this statement tonight at the official awarding ceremony for A-Level Top Achievers of 2019 held at Thaajuddeen School. President Solih said that the students, now graduates, are at an important crossroads where they have to contemplate and decide on the road to take for their future. He urged students to make full use of the higher education and training opportunities offered to them by the government, in the Maldives or abroad, and fulfil their dreams in their field of choice.

President Solih congratulated all the top achievers who received awards, naming them the true guests of honour at the ceremony tonight. He stated that in addition to the students, their educators, including teachers, lead teachers and principals, and parents also deserve praise and appreciation for enabling the students to reach their dreams. The President extended his gratitude to all educators and parents for their diligence in helping the younger generations achieve their potential.

Speaking further, President Solih advised students to align their goals with the fast pace of today’s world, utilising modern technology and science for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking to create openings and develop themselves in professions that hold their interest. He urged students to aim to use the tools and opportunities available to them in today’s modern world in innovative and creative ways rather than chasing after a specific job immediately following graduation. The President described diversity and innovation as crucial for swift economic and national development, calling on parents and educators to foster creativity and innovative thinking in whichever field holds the childs’ interests.

President Solih also underlined the central role of teachers and educators in the nation, stating that there are 9119 teachers in the Maldives today; 6498 permanent Maldivian teachers, 1730 expatriate teachers and 891 temporary teachers. He expressed concern that the number of temporary teachers is on the rise, and that a lack of interest in the teaching field could lead to students not receiving the ideal education and nurture they need to achieve their individual dreams. He revealed that the government aims to conduct research into the state of the education sector and teaching vocation to determine the reason for the scarcity of permanent Maldivian educators. He further urged more Maldivians to join the vocation, stating that the younger generations need Maldivian teachers who can train them in the holy principles of Islam and foster future generations of innovative, empathetic and patriotic individuals.

Concluding his statement, President Solih entreated parents and teachers to support the government to shape the younger generations into creative thinkers who can surmount the challenges of the 21st Century, praying to Almighty Allah to bless the efforts.

First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Vice President Faisal Naseem accompanied the President in conferring certificates and awards to the top achievers at tonight’s ceremony.

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