In commemorating of National Conservation Day on 10th August 2016, the Agency for Natural Resources Conservation in Aceh (BKSDA) and Yayasan Satucita Lestari Indonesia released dozens of baby of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) into Tamiang River, the habitat of this critically endangered species. The ceremony was held in village Pusong Kapal, Tuesday (16/8).
Painted Terrapin or called Tuntong Laut in local language is one of the threatened species that population has decreased sharply in last decades. The decreasing of this vertebrate species is caused by poaching. The heavy poaching of adults has massively occurred in 80’s to 90’s, while the poaching of eggs has been practiced by villagers since decades ago. Even, the poaching of eggs seems a tradition and locals have a local cuisine nemed Tengulik that made from egg. This food is like a jam and people eat it with birdlime.
Head of BKSDA Aceh, Genman Suhefti Hasibuan, Shut, MM, said that the importance to raise the public awareness on conservation efforts, the Government has assigned 10 August 10 as National Conservation Day. Therefore, in order to achieve that aim, BKSDA Aceh in cooperation with the Foundation releasing 20 hatchlings of Painted Terrapin into origial habitat.
Indonesia is known as a mega biodiversity place. Thus, that is become a duty and responsibility for us to preserve and utilize the natural resources in sustainable ways. So, the future generation is still have a chance to enjoy it.
According to him, there are various ways to preserve nature and biodiversity, including the natural resources in Aceh Tamiang. Some of them are improving knowledge and awareness on the preservation of plants and wildlife, taking a part to prevent illegal logging, prevent wild plants and animals smuggling, either protected or unprotected.
He said that utilization of plants and rare animals should be in appropriate or sustainable ways according ecological balance and environmental carrying capacity. Further, Minister of Forestry Decree P.57 / Menhut-II / 2008 has set a Strategic Directions on National Species Conservation.
“One of the species that have a very high priority and live in Aceh Tamiang is Painted Terrapin,” he said.
Painted Terrapin is listed in Appendix II CITES (Convention on International Trade ON Endangered Species) . Tuntong sea is endangered and listed in the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In the same time, a founder and principal researcher of Satucita Foundation, Joko Guntoro, said the hatchlings released is only a some of total hatchlings that resulted from annual nest patrol that conducted from December 2015 To April 2016.
“This release is only symbolic to commemorate the Indonesian Conservation Day. The remaining, 645 hatchlings, will be released in end of ,” Joko said said.
He is also stated the importance of cooperation with and support from villagers and government to save this aquatic species.
“Without the cooperation and support of the community, it can be implemented as of, for example a current support from PT Pertamina Field Rantau to organize this event and genetic study. We are also getting support from Turtle Survival Alliance, Chester Zoo, Houston Zoo for conducted nest patrol, field monitoring, raising the hatchlings.” Joko said.
The ceremony was attended by representative of Pertamina Field Rantau, Forest Management Unit III Langsa, Aceh Tamiang Office of Fisheries and Maritime, Office of Environmental, Office of Forestry and Plantations, Navy Post in Seruway, community leaders in Seruway.