A female of Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis), critically endangered species, found (catched) by a farmer in a blocked ditch which situated in his farm. The terrapin is accidentally found when the excavator used to dig shallow trenches.
When digging that muddy ditch, a terrapin is sighted by farmer. As farmer knows that the species is protected – impact of our socialization program which reach the village – , he quickly catch the terrapin to rescue her from danger situation. Then, he call the secretary of Village Gelung to report the situation. After that, the secretary contact our staff who stay in Village Pusung Kapal, a neighbor of Village Gelung.
Our staff, Hakim and Safrizal, accompanied by secretary decided to move quickly to response the information and checking the field situation. After arrive in location and checking the terrapin, recording morphometric data, more comprehensive information is collected by interview to farmer.
We were happy to know that a female with 52 cm in carapace length, 45 cm widht and 20 kg weight, in good condition, without any injury. The female released immediately in the same daya (22 June) on Tamiang River, a main river, which only separated (blocked) by soil wall and a 30 cm pipe (to flow the water) with the ditch.
About a decade ago, the ditch is a river branch of Tamiang River. However, to expand the agricultural, the ditch is blocked by build soil wall. To flow the water into and out of ditch, about 30 cm wide pipe was installed and connected to river.
We do not know how the terrapin can be stuck in the ditch. Whether it is caused by the veery high tide, when the water surface level between ditch and river are same, so terrapin will be able to cross, or this female had been stuck in the ditch since a decade ago when still hathcling or sub-juvenile. Both are possible. However, the most important lesson is blocking the ditch or river branch has block the terrapin to main habitat (river) and nesting site, although he/she can grow.
As the farmer said that there are another terrapin stuck (trapped) in this blocked ditch, our rescue operation will be continue. Effort to capture that terrapin will use bait traps and fish net if possible. Stay updated!