hatchlings of painted terrapin

Result of Nest Patrol to Secure Terrapin Eggs 2017

The nest patrol activity was finished last mont. That five months nest patrol was successfully secured 424 eggs of 26 nests. Of that total number, 371 eggs was hatched while the other was failed. This year hatching rate is 87.5 percent, higher compared to last year. The hachlings produced this year is 371. All hatchlings produced are released immediately after hatched. So, as of 2017, the total hatchlings of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) released into wild is 1,204. We are expecting this number will boost the wild population of this critically endangered terrapin in the future.

The patrol

Totally, we spent 131 days on the beach to carry out nest patrol. We were walking along the beach, about 3.2 km in length. So, we had to walk along 6.4 km every night, three hours per night and depend on the time of high tide. There was also a time when we had to walk two times every night: 7 pm and 5 am. That was happened when the high tide occurred early night (about 7 pm). Then, the high tide was started again at about 5 am. So, we had two chances that Painted Terrapin females would be emerged to the beach and nesting.

Nesting beach.

We secured 92 eggs of 5 nests on December 2016. On January, 259 eggs of 16 nests. In March, we found and secured 73 eggs of 5 nests. All eggs found were incubated on hatchery was built on the beach. During nest patrol, we were also measured the daily air temperature and humidity, sands (surface and 10 cm under the surface) temperature. The measurement of temperature and humidity was conducted manually four times per day: 4 am, 10 am, 4 pm and 10 pm. The temperature and humidity on the beach is very volatile, therefore by doing this, the average value is more represented. In addition, we found and marked 3 females on the beach. All are new individuals, not marked before.

The causes of declining

If we try to compare the result of this year nest patrol with last year, the total number of eggs and nests found and secured is declining sharply. Last year, our nest patrol was successfully secured 910 eggs of 51 nests. The decreasing is about fifty percent.

There are, at least, three reasons behind this declining. First is beach erosion. The erosion has caused about half of the nesting area lost. The place where we found about half of total nest secured last year, currently is lost.

The second reason is the massive trash on the beach. It produces obstacle for female to reach the higher area on the beach for nesting.

Reasons of declining

Third reason is shrimp traps. Fishermen who met with us said to us that some terrapins die because trapped in this traps. This kind of trap is used by fishermen to catch the shrimp. The traps are laid in riverbed. Banana and coconut are used as bait. Unfortunately, this bait is favorite for terrapin. We always use this bait in our capture-recaptured survey. Fishermen are checking that traps after some hours. Therefore, once the terrapin caught by that traps, it is impossible for them to taking air and breathe. We found two females corpse that become victim of this trap.

Do the hatchlings survive after released?

Of course, the question that lie in our mind is do they survive in wild after released?. This question is also in our mind. Therefore, efforts to get evidence to answer this question have been being conducted in the field and in progress. Although it is confirmed by some accidental sightings that the post-released hatchlings – indicated by mark on marginal carapace – are basking on logs at riverside, thus can be an indicator that they are successfully survive in rivers, but that is not sufficient. More surveys are necessary. This is not only to answer that question, but is also to be a tool for evaluation of our conservation method.

Post-released sub-juvenile of Painted Terrapin

Recent years, the findings of post-released hatchlings basking on logs are common for fishermen. Fishermen who usually ride their boat are common sighting the hathclings on some particular place (riverside). They said that was not common in previous years. In our trip from village to nest patrol camp and vice versa were also successfully observed that hatchlings. Even, we were able to see their mark on marginal carapace, although we could not identify their number precisely.

The latest releasing we did was on 1 December 2016. The sub-juvenile on picture 4 was photographed on 12 March. The location of we photographed that sub-juvenile is about 3 km from releasing site on December 2016. So, perhaps, they are the sub-juvenile was released on December 2016.

This can be a positive sign that the nest patrol and headstarting method is successful to recover sub-juvenile population. For wild adult population, it must be looked at long term, at least four to eight years later.

We would like to thanks to our partner Turtle Survival Alliance, Houston Zoo and Chester Zoo who supporting our works to conserve Painted Terrapin.

You are also able to support our works. If you would like to support us, you can donate to our paypal account through this link: Support Satucita Foundation

tagging painted terrapin

Over 400 Painted Terrapin Eggs Secured in Nest Patrol

Totally, 407 eggs of 25 nests have been secured and currently incubated at in situ hatchery, located on nesting beach, in Aceh Tamiang, Aceh, Indonesia. Since December 2016, the team of Satucita Foundation and BKSDA (Agency of Natural Resources Conservation) Province Aceh have been patrolling on the beach to secure the eggs from harvesting by some villagers and wild boar.

Although some villagers are still trying to harvest the eggs in nesting season, the cases are declining. But, the threat from wild boar (Sus scrofa) is still same. As of today, eggs of 4 nests had been eaten by wild boar before found and secured by our team. When the nesting beach has about 3 km in distance, it seems impossible to fence along the beach to secure the eggs from wild boar disturbance. Therefore, the nest patrol must be conducted annually.

painted terrapin egg
Painted Terrapin eggs eaten by wild boar. (Photo: Joko Guntoro)


The eggs had been secured, currently are incubated at in situ hatchery that built on the nesting beach. The hatchery is fenced by barbed wire to prevent it from wild boar disturbance. On hatchery, the nest temperature, sand moisture, air and humidity temperature were recorded four times every day. We are estimating the eggs will be started to hatch in late of March.

hatchery for Painted Terrapin
Hatchery for incubating Painted Terrapin eggs on the nesting beach. (Photo: Joko Guntoro)

Our team were usually patrolling along the beach, about 6 km in distance, every night. In particular days, the patrol was conducted two times per night when the high tides occurred at about 4 to 5 am. During these days, the low tide was still occurred at 7 to 8 pm. In this time, the emerging of Painted Terrapin female for nesting on the beach was still possible. The movement of female for nesting is determined by tidal.

Painted terrapin nest
Measuring nest characterisctics. (Photo: Joko Guntoro)

Nest characteristics – depth, width, sand moisture and temperature, air temperature and humidity – are also measured. The female found was also injected with Pit Tags for future monitoring. Every nest found on the beach was moved and reburied on the hatchery that situated about 30 meter of our nest patrol camp. The new nest has a same depth and width with the original nest. It is to ensure that there is no temperature and moisture difference between original and new nest.

tagging painted terrapin
Tagging nesting female. (Photo: Tatang YK/YSLI)

Causes of Declining

The total number of eggs secured this year is decreased compared to last year. Total number secured last year was 910 eggs of 52 nests. The declining is about 55 percent compared to last year.
That declining is very affected by some factors. First is coastal erosion. It is estimated that about fifty percent of beach that usually become a nesting site for Painted Terrapin has lost due to erosion. This is the first time since the annual nest patrol has been conducted in 2010. This massive erosion is caused by southeaster that makes heavy waves to hit the beach, so the sandy beach was moving or lost.

coastal erosion
Nesting site erosion. (photo: Joko Guntoro)

Second is caused by shrimp trap. Reports from fishermen said that some adults of Painted Terrapin, male or female, found dead because trapped in shrimp trap that used by fishermen. Fishermen are using banana or coconut as bait to capture shrimp. These baits are feed for Painted Terrapin. The trap is installed on river floor and checked by fishermen after few hours. The trouble is occurred when Painted Terrapin eating that bait and trapped, so she/he is not able to swim to the surface to breathe. Therefore, it has made the number of adult female laying nest on the beach is declining.

Painted terrapin dead
Dead female. (Photo: Joko Guntoro)

The third is massive amount of trash on the beach. The trash is dominated by logs, twigs. These made the adult female facing hard obstacle and difficulties to find the suitable place for digging nest and laying eggs. Even, some females were sighted to return to the sea immediately, after she could not find the place for digging nest and laying eggs. If she could not find the suitable location for nesting, then the best possibility was she had to move to another beach for nesting. Some female’s footprint that had to return to the sea due to hampered by logs or twigs were found on the beach. Unfortunately, our team would not be able to reach that beach because we had to crossing the estuary by boat.

beach pollution
Trash on nesting beach. (Photo: Joko Guntoro)

We would like to thank for our partner Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), Houston Zoo, Chester Zoo to support our current conservation activities on the field. (Joko Guntoro)

Secured More Painted Terrapin Eggs

Team of Satucita Foundation were successfully secured more eggs on 13 and 14 December. 18 eggs on 13 Dec and 20 eggs on 14 Dec. So, totally we have secured and incubated 90 eggs. About 6-8 nests had been harvested by fishermen on November. So, about 11-13 nests have been counted so far.

Compared with the same period in last year, the number of nesting in this year is lower.

Painted Terrapin Eggs Secured From Poaching

One nest with 20 eggs have been secured by our nesting patrol team from poaching on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (4/12). Another 32 eggs of two nests (18 and 14 in each nest) have been secured on Friday night/Saturday morning (6/12). Totally, the nesting patrol successfully secured 52 eggs of three nests so far.

Villagers always hunt or collect the Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) eggs every nesting season. Therefore, nesting patrol to secure and hatch the eggs are conducted every nesting season. This is one of many efforts to increase the stock of wild population.

The First Hatchling of Nesting Season Year 2013

The first hacthling of Painted terrapin from last nesting patrol was born on 17 March 2014. This is a result of our nesting patrol had been carried out during December 2013 to January 2014. You can read our last nesting patrol through this link. Totally, this hatchling need 94 days to hatch. This hatchling is hatch from the nest found on 12 December 2013.

first hatchling of nesting season year 2013
the first hatchling of nesting season year 2013

The hatchling is 5,1 cm in carapace length. The hatchlings that hatched will be raised about six months and then released into wild to achieve our minimum objective to release at least 500 hatchling into wild until 2017.

The last nesting patrol successfully secured 328 Painted terrapin eggs

The last nesting patrol to secure the survival of Painted terrapin successfully secured 328 eggs of 20 nests. The nesting patrol have been carried out from November 2013 to January 2014 at main nesting beaches in Seruway Mangrove Forest, Aceh Tamiang District, Indonesia.

The nests were found on two main nesting beaches, there are Pusong Cium and Pusong Putus. Pusong Putus has about 2,5 km in length to be patrolled, meanwhile Pusong Cium only about 1 km. The patrol were conducted three times every night, about 09.00 pm to 04.30 am. During patrol, some females were sighted and observed by our team. But, in some, our team only found the nests.

Recently, the eggs are incubated to hatch in our basic headstarting facility. Hopefully, the eggs will start to hatch on the end of February until April. Based on previous years, the eggs will hatch after 72 to 115 days. After hatched, the offspring will be raised about six months, then released into habitat to increase wild population of this critically endangered species.

The nesting patrol activity successfully carried out through support from Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

(satucita foundation/all pictures are owned by and copyright of satucita foundation)

the camp
the camp
track of female painted terrapin
track of female painted terrapin
Female of Painted terrapin is laying eggs
Female of Painted terrapin is laying eggs
excavating the nest to secure the eggs from poaching and natural predation
excavating the nest to secure the eggs from poaching and natural predation
Painted terrapin eggs have secured and moved into incubation box
Painted terrapin eggs have secured and moved into incubation box
The eggs have been secured from nests then grouped in incubation boxes (1 nest 1 box)
The eggs have been secured from nests then grouped in incubation boxes (1 nest 1 box)

Eighty One Hatchlings of Painted Terrapin Produced

A total of eighty one hatchlings of Tuntong Laut (Painted terrapin / Batagur borneoensis) has been produced until Tuesday, April 2, 2013. The eighty one babies are the result of hatching effort conducted by satucita foundation since December 2012 in its rearing facility. Continue reading “Eighty One Hatchlings of Painted Terrapin Produced”

Rescue of Painted Terrapin Eggs is Continued

A total of 119 eggs were rescued by a team from December 2012 to January 2012. This means there is the addition of 50 eggs since December 22, 2012. A total of 119 eggs were rescued from seven nests were found on two beaches. Five nests found in Ujung Tamiang beach, while remaining in Pusong Cium beach. Continue reading “Rescue of Painted Terrapin Eggs is Continued”

Carried Out Nesting Survey of Painted Terrapin

Kuala Simpang,

A team of SatuCita has been carrying out nesting survey of Painted terrapin (batagur borneonsis) in Seruway Subdistrict, Aceh Tamiang Regency, Indonesia. This team consist of SatuCita’s staff leaded by Joko, principal investigator, and helped by local people. The survey it self has started from 15th of October and planned until the end of February, 2010.

This activity is a preliminary study to investigate the existing conditions of Painted terrapin (batagur borneonsis) population in Aceh Tamiang. In the end of study, a document which will give a big picture of Painted terrapin conditions and the threats that they are facing, included strategy for Painted Terrapin Conservation Program (PTCP), will be published.

“This is just an initial step to set up Painted Terrapin Conservation Programme for Lembaga SatuCita and Aceh Tamiang Regency. We wish we can establish a Conservation Programme for Painted Terrapin here (Aceh Tamiang). Therefore, we need cooperation and support from other organisation and interested parties. We invite any interested parties to join us to save Painted terrapin” said Joko Guntoro, Excecutive Director of SatuCita also acting as principal investigator for this programme.

Lembaga SatuCita would like to thanks for supporting and funding from Turtle Survival Alliances (TSA) (http://www.turtlesurvival.org). SatuCita has received TSA’s seed grant for carried out this important and strategic step. (admin)