The shell of a Tridacna gigas giant clam on display in a Spanish museum. The species has not been seen in Thai waters for about 100 years.
CAPE PANWA, PHUKET: With the colorful shell of the giant clam highly prized by aquarium owners, the lucrative but illegal trade in the species is causing the population of this marine mollusk to decrease dramatically and experts fear it may become extinct in its natural habitat.
The Giant Clam Rehabilitation Project now underway in Andaman coastal areas is working to preserve and spawn more giant clams, which have both male and female organs present in the same animal.
Yet while the illegal trade in the species continues, it is questionable how far releasing farmed clams into the wild will go to alleviating the problem.