Saving Painted Terrapin Eggs in Aceh Tamiang in 2021

To save the Painted Terrapin, one of the most critically endangered freshwater turtles in the world, from extinction, the Satucita Foundation always carries out nest patrols during nesting season. From December 2020 to February 2021, our team conducted a nest patrol on two nesting sites in Ujung Tamiang, District of Aceh Tamiang. This is our 10th nest patrol in Aceh Tamiang, Province of Aceh.

The team members who carry out the nest patrol on Ujung Tamiang consisted of a staff of the Agency of Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA) Province Aceh, staff of Satucita Foundation, member of the tourism group in Village Pusung Kapal dan Sungai Kuruk III, staff of PT Pertamina Rantau. At the same time, a team from the Office of Fisheries and Marine of Aceh Tamiang also conducted a nest patrol on Beach Kuala Genting.

Collecting painted terrapin eggs
Our volunteer collected the eggs into bucket before transferring them to hatchery. (Photo: Hakim/YSLI)

The team was based in Village Pusung Kapal. They go to the beach every evening, just before the tide, to search for the Painted terrapin female’s tracks and find her nest. They walked along about 4 – 5 km every night on the beach to do this. When the nest was found, the team member dug the nest and relocated the eggs into a foam box or bucket filled with beach sands. Then, return to the village and rebury the eggs into the artificial nest in the hatchery. The depth and width of the artificial nests are the same compared to the original nest found on the beach.

From this year nest patrol, 579 eggs of 33 nests were secured from illegal harvesting and natural predation by Wild boar (Sus scrofa) and lizard (Varanus salvator).  These eggs were found on Beach Ujung Tamiang dan Pusung Cium. However, mostly from Ujung Tamiang. Of those total number, 330 eggs successfully hatched and currently are being raised in the pool at Painted Terrapin Information Center before released back into the wild. Basic morphometric data of these offspring have been recorded in our database. So, we can monitor the growth in the long term.  

Painted terrapin nest
Eggs inside the clutch. (Photo: Hakim/YSLI)

Some eggs failed to hatch due to not being fertile or being eaten by ants when incubated in the hatchery. As of today, more than 3500 Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) hatchlings have been released back into the wild since this program launched.

Hatchling of Painted terrapin in Aceh. (Photo: YSLI)

We would like to thank Synchronicity Earth, Houston Zoo, Turtle Survival Alliance, and Pertamina EP to support our activity. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want your community, organization, or company want to be involved and reached by our Painted terrapin conservation program!

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