Australian diplomat is forced to apologise after eating an endangered soft shell turtle in Cambodia and posting pictures of his meal to Twitter

  • Australian ambassador to Cambodia shared photo of giant softshell turtle meal
  • He deleted the post and apologised after learning the species is endangered
  • Species is considered a delicacy and is threatened due to human consumption

An Australian ambassador has been criticised after he shared a photograph online of him eating an endangered soft shell turtle in Cambodia.

Pablo Kang, Australia’s representative in Cambodia, was forced to issue a grovelling apology after posting the images of his meal to Twitter while visiting the nation.

The Asian giant softshell turtle is regarded as a ‘high status’ food and is now endangered because it is eaten by humans. 

Mr Kang was forced to apologise for his tweet before deleting it after widespread backlash. 

Pablo Kang, Australia's representative in Cambodia, was forced to issue a grovelling apology after posting photographs of his meal to Twitter while visiting the nation.

Pablo Kang, Australia’s representative in Cambodia, was forced to issue a grovelling apology after posting photographs of his meal to Twitter while visiting the nation.

The Asian giant softshell turtle he ate is regarded as a 'high status' food and is now threatened as a direct result of human consumption

The Asian giant softshell turtle he ate is regarded as a ‘high status’ food and is now threatened as a direct result of human consumption

‘Hello. I have removed my tweet about soft shell turtles & eels, and apologise to all those who took offence,’ he wrote online.

‘My intent was not to promote these dishes, but to tell people about some of the foods I was offered during my recent provincial visit.’

Giant softshell turtles disappeared from most of their habitat last century.  

Some scientists describe the species as endangered, while other say it is threatened, at the very least. 

‘I certainly do not condone the harvesting of any endangered species for food or other purposes, and will be more careful about my actions in future,’ Mr Kang wrote. 

Mr Kang deleted the original tweet following the backlash, before issuing a public apology. In spite of his apology, Mr Kang's actions drew the ire of environmentalists who expressed concern about the damage he could have caused

Mr Kang deleted the original tweet following the backlash, before issuing a public apology. In spite of his apology, Mr Kang’s actions drew the ire of environmentalists who expressed concern about the damage he could have caused

Prior to holding his post with Cambodia, he worked as the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and the High Commissioner to Vanuatu for Australia

Prior to holding his post with Cambodia, he worked as the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and the High Commissioner to Vanuatu for Australia

Mr Kang’s actions drew criticism from environmentalists who expressed concern about the damage he could have caused. 

‘All Softshell Turtle species in SE Asia are listed as at least vulnerable, while others are endangered,’ one person tweeted.

‘Consumption is the number 1 threat, and demand is in part due to perception that it is a ‘high-status’ food, all the more reckless for an Ambassador to promote!’

A wildlife account added: ‘Really? Promoting consumption of endangered species and therefore the illegal wildlife trade? Not responsible actions from an Ambassador.’

Mr Kang is an experienced diplomat.

Prior to holding his post with Cambodia, he worked as the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and the High Commissioner to Vanuatu for Australia.  

Pictured: Pablo Kang's Twitter account, where he originally shared photos of his meal

Pictured: Pablo Kang’s Twitter account, where he originally shared photos of his meal

The Asian giant softshell turtle he ate is regarded as a 'high status' food and is now threatened as a direct result of human consumption

The Asian giant softshell turtle he ate is regarded as a ‘high status’ food and is now threatened as a direct result of human consumption

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