Release 77 Hatchlings of Critically Endangered Painted Terrapin

A total of 77 hatchlings of Painted Terrapin ( Batagur borneoensis ), critically endangered species, was released in to native habitat in estuaries in Aceh Tamiang District, Indonesia ( 3/10/013 ) . These seven month-old hatchlings are a result of survey and nesting patrol carried out by rescue team of BKSDA Aceh Tamiang , rangers of Aceh Tamiang Forestry Office, Satucita Foundation and supported by Pertamina in the period of December 2012 to early January 2013 .

In habitat , eggs of Painted Terrapin are harvested by villagers for consumption. Therefore, rescuing, hatching eggs , raising the hatchlings and releasing to nature is very important to increase populations in the wild . Survey and nesting patrol activities was carried out during in that period , successfully rescued 180 grains . Hatching was carried out by using a foam box filled with sands. Each nest was moved one foam box .

Leaders of Subdistrict Seruway and villagers releasing Painted Terrapin into habitat
Leaders of Subdistrict Seruway and villagers releasing Painted Terrapin into habitat

However , Only 83 were hatched , two of them are handicapped . Meanwhile, the rest were failed to hatch because infertile.  A week after hatching, four hatchlings died. So, only 79 hatchlings that live up to the enlargement. Of 79 hatchlings that live and raised in two rearing ponds sized 7×4 m and 4×3 m , two hatchlings are not released into the habitat because they are handicapped. Considering that the hatchlings  would be difficult to feed, move and survive in the habitat , then they are not released .

At the time of releasing , average carapace length ( SCL ) is 11.3 cm , the average carapace width is 9.8 cm and the average weight is 221 grams . At the time of early measurement, average carapace length was 5.4 cm , width 5.1 cm and the average weight is 41 grams . Thus, for about six months , the hatchlings carapace length are increased by 5.9 cm , while the width is about 4.7 cm and a weight 180 grams.

During the six months grew up , the hatchlings are fed with fruit of mangrove ( Sonneratia sp . ) , shrimp and water spinach (Ipomoea sp).  This natural diet will ease the hatchlings to adapt in habitat.

In a speech at the releasing event , the Chairman of Satucita Foundation invites all elements of society to support the preservation of this  critically endangered species according to the IUCN . Commenting on Painted Terrapin , Secretary of Aceh Tamiang Forestry and Plantation Office, Ir . H.Muhammad Zein, said ” Activity over the mangrove conversion and poaching for consumption has caused a decline of Painted Terrapin population. Moreover, once the egg hunted for economic interests and consumption without considering its sustainability, obviously will accelerate its extinction ” , said Muhammad Zein .

Hathclings of Painted Terrapin released
Hathclings of Painted Terrapin released

Muhammad Zein expressed full support of the Local Government of Aceh Tamiang towards Painted Terrapin conservation activities initiated by the Foundation in Aceh Tamiang.

On the occasion, Assistant Manager of Health Safety Security and Environment ( HSSE ) PT Pertamina Rantau Field ,Bukit Hari Laksono, said that PT Pertamina remains committed to support the conservation of this species in Aceh Tamiang .

Meanwhile , contacted separately , head of the Natural Resources Conservation Center ( BKSDA ) Aceh , Ir Amon Zamora MSc , stated that the preservation of wild animals and plants is the responsibility of all elements of society and rescuing eggs, hatching, raising and releasing is a form of engagement of public awareness and commitment shown by Satucita Foundation.

” Painted Terrapin is a very critically endangered species which ranks 25th in global scale, published by Turtle Conservation Coalition. Of the 25 turtles are the most endangered globally , there are 6 species which live in Indonesia ,Painted Terrapin is one of them . Painted Terrapin is instrumental in dispersing the seeds and nutrients for the mangrove ecosystem . Going forward , we will continue to enhance cooperation with BKSDA Aceh , government , communities , private sector to increase the population of Batagur borneoensis. Do not let local extinctions that occurred in other areas is also happened in Aceh Tamiang . We give a positive appreciation for BKSDA Aceh , Aceh Tamiang Forestry Office, Pertamina, Turtle Survival Alliance, local community to support the conservation of this species” , added Joko Guntoro , founder of the Satucita Foundation.

preparing Painted Terrapin to be released
preparing Painted Terrapin to be released

Attending the event , Chairman of Satucita Foundation, Secretary of Aceh Tamiang Forestry Office , Ir.H.Muhammad Zein, head of BKSDA Tamiang , Azharuddin , Head of Seruway Police Office represented by Chief of Provost, Aipda Provos Chief Unit , Commander of Seruway Military Office, head of some villages in Seruway, villagers. While the PT Pertamina represented by Assistant Manager HSSE , Bukit Hari Laksono , Assistant Legal And Relation, Jupri , Pebransyah and his staff .

We would like to thanks to Turtle Survival Alliance, PT Pertamina EP Field Rantau, Turtle Conservation Fund, Local Government of Aceh Tamiang, Villagers for their support for Painted Terrapin conservation initiative here.


The hatchlings growth to 10.3 cm in length after five months

After five months kept in the ponds, the Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) hatchlings growth to 10.3 cm in average length of carapace and 9,2 in average width.

batagur borneoensis_hatchlings_ponds_satucita foundation_joko guntoro
five months old hatchlings in the pond

The hatchlings are planned  to released on September. Of the total number 78 hatchlings, about 70 will be released into their natural habitat when the rest will be kept in the pond to breed in captivity to produce stock of offspring to be released into habitat. Another two hatchlings are suffering physical disability, so they can not be released into habitat.

five months old hatchling
five months old hatchling

The Growth of Painted Terrapin Hatchling in the Fourth Month

After hatched four months ago, the 81 Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) hatchlings are being raised in rearing ponds are growth nicely. Measurements on March 30, 2013, the average carapace length is 5.4 cm, width 5.1 cm and weighs 4.1 grams.

On May, the average carapace length is 8.1 cm, when the measurements on 30 July is 9.7 cm and the average width is 9.2 cm. Thus, during four months, the growth of carapace increase about 179.6 percent. This growth is great news. Based on this, we hope that the hatchlings are ready to be released into their natural habitats next month. It is an effort to increase their population in the habitat.

turtle_painted terrapin_hatchling

With fed as natural as possible mangrove fruit, chopped shrimp while raisedin rearing ponds, it is expected that the hatchlings would be easily adapted to find food after released. The issue of dependence on certain foods is expected to be minimized or even absent (admin).

Bahasa Indonesia

Sejak menetas empat bulan lalu, ke delapan puluh tukik Tuntung Laut (Batagur borneoensis) yang dibesarkan di kolam pembesaran Yayasan Satucita berkembang dengan cukup baik. Pada pengukuran yang dilakukan 30 Maret 2013, panjang karapas rata-rata adalah 5,4 cm, lebar 5,1 cm dan berat 4,1 gram.

turtle_painted terrapin_hatchling_basking
Pada bulan Mei, panjang karapas rata-rata adalah 8,1 cm. Sedangkan pengukuran yang dilakukan pada 30 Juli mendapatkan hasil bahwa panjang rata-rata karapas adalah 9,7 cm dan lebar rata-rata adalah 9,2 cm. Dengan demikian, selama empat bulan, pertumbuhan panjang karaps tukik mengalami peningkatan sebesar 179,6 persen. Pertumbuhan ini cukup menggembirakan. Dengan demikian, tukik akan siap untuk dilepaskan ke habitat alaminya, perairan hutan bakau, sebagai upaya peningkatan populasi di habitat.

turtle_headstarting ponds
Dengan pemberian pakan sealami mungkin – buah bakau, cincangan udang, kangkung – selama di kolam pembesaran, diasumsikan tukik-tukik ini akan dengan mudah beradaptasi untuk menemukan makanan setelah dilepaskan kembali ke habitat. Isu ketergantungan terhadap jenis makanan tertentu diharapkan dapat diminimalisir atau bahkan tidak ditemui (admin).

Exotic Tortoise in Indonesia Market

Based on our observation in pet shops and online trading, some exotic tortoise are still become favorites for pet market in Indonesia. We do not know how many these non native turtle imported to Indonesia, captive bred or wild captured in their origin. The price of each species is various. Here are non native tortoises and freshwater turtles that found sell in some pet shops and online in Indonesia:

1. Pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri). CITES: vulnerable. IUCN: Appendix II


2. Sulcata tortoise (Geochelone sulcata). CITES: Vulnerable. IUCN: Appendix II


3. Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans). CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: lower risk/least concern

indian star tortoise in pet shop
indian star tortoise in a pet shop

4. Red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria). CITES:       . IUCN:

Cherry Head Red-Foot Tortoise, baby 660

5. Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis). CITES:         . IUCN:



1. We use the pictures only to give illustration of each species. Photographs are owned by the photographers. Please, see the link of photographs.

2. For status of each species, please look at

Continue to Share Knowledge of Painted Terrapin to Community

After successfully increasing the knowledge of more than 600 middle school students in the District Seruway in 2012, we continue to work to improve public knowledge about the conservation of Painted Terrapin, a species that included in the world’s most 25 endangered freshwater turtle and tortoise. During 5 days, from 1 to 5 July 2013, we participated in the exhibition to commemorate the anniversary of Aceh Tamiang District.

In a booth along with the Office of Forestry and Agriculture, a total of ten three-months old Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) hatchlings shown to the public and students who visited the booth. Approximately 800 brochures about the ecology, biology and conservation of this species were distributed to visitors. The visitors learned about life cycle of Painted Terrapin that visualized on two banner.

a volunteer distributed a brochure of Painted Terrapin conservation to visitors
a volunteer distributed a brochure of Painted Terrapin conservation to visitors

Many visitors, including the Regent , photographed the hatchlings. Many of the visitors asked about this species. Even, many of them are never heard about this species or did not realize that this endangered species lives in Aceh Tamiang. This is also an underlying reason of why we should take a part in the exhibition, remembering that in 2012, many students wanted to see the animals. However, it was not available at that time.

Before the hatchlings released back into the habitat as it should be, then a chance to show this animal to public directly is a very valuable opportunity.  It is useful to teach them how to identify the species. Before the hatchlings released, they must reach a certain size to help them to avoid natural predation.

visitors watching Painted Terrapin hatchlings in temporary ponds
visitors watching Painted Terrapin hatchlings in temporary ponds

This reinforces our determination to continue to improve the knowledge and awareness of local, national and international communities to conserve this species. This is due to the facts that the threats are not only from local factors, but also nationally and internationally through the illegal pet trade. In 90s decade, many adult of Painted Terrapin sold and exported to meet the demand of pet and food market.

Further information:
1. Daily newspaper: Serambi Indonesia
2. Campaign news in 2012 in the e-newsletter IUCN-C

In Bahasa Indonesia


Setelah sukses meningkatkan pengetahuan lebih dari 600 siswa sekolah menengah pertama di Kecamatan Seruway pada tahun 2012, kami terus berupaya meningkatkan pengetahuan masyarakat tentang pelestarian spesies yang termasuk ke dalam 25 kura-kura paling terancam punah di dunia ini. Selama 5 hari, sejak 1 hingga 5 Juli 2013, kami berpartisipasi dalam pameran untuk memperingati HUT Kabupaten Aceh Tamiang.

Dalam stand bersama dengan Dinas Kehutanan dan Perkebunan itu, sebanyak 10 tukik Tuntung Laut (Batagur borneoensis) berumur 3 bulan kami perlihatkan kepada masyarakat dan pelajar yang mengunjungi stand. Sekitar 800 brosur tentang ekologi, biologi dan pelestarian spesies ini dibagikan kepada pengunjung yang datang. Pengunjung juga ditunjukkan siklus hidup Tuntung Laut yang tercetak di banner.

Banyak pengunjung, termasuk Bupati dan Ibu Bupati, turut memfoto tukik-tukik tersebut. Banyak pula pengunjung bertanya tentang spesies ini. Bahkan banyak pula pengunjung yang baru mendengar tentang spesies ini atau tidak menyadari bahwa spesies terancam punah ini hidup di Aceh Tamiang. Ini juga yang mendasari kami turut serta dalam pameran mengingat bahwa pada tahun 2012 lalu, banyak siswa berkeinginan untuk melihat satwa secara langsung. Namun, karena saat itu spesies ini tidak ada, maka tidak mungkin menunjukkanya.

Sebelum tukik-tukik dilepaskan kembali ke habitat sebagaimana seharusnya, maka kesempatan untuk memperlihatkan satwa ini secara langsung kepada masyarakat adalah kesempatan yang sangat berharga. Sebelum dilepaskan, tukik harus mencapai ukuran tertentu untuk menghindari predasi alami atau lebih mampu bertahan terhadap predator alami.

Hal ini semakin menguatkan tekad kami untuk terus meningkatkan pengetahuan dan kesadaran warga lokal, nasional dan internasional untuk melestarikan spesies ini. Hal ini disebabkan bahwa ancaman kepunahan spesies ini tidak hanya tangan-tangan jahil lokal, tetapi juga nasional dan internasional melalui perdagangan satwa peliharaan (pet) ilegal. Pada dekade 90-an banyak individu dewasa spesies ini dijual bahkan diekspor untuk memenuhi permintaan pasar pet dan konsumsi. Ini pula lah yang berkontribusi terhadap penurunan populasi, bahkan kepunahan di berbagai daerah, secara drastis.

Informasi lebih lanjut:

1. Berita pameran di Harian Serambi Indonesia

2. Berita kampanye tahun 2012 di e-newsletter IUCN-CEC



We are Selected as a Finalist of Klik Hati Merck 2013

We are thrilled to be selected as a finalist of Klik Hati Merck 2013 for environmental category. Freshwater turtle conservation, especially species Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis), forward still takes time, full of challenges and needs your support. However, we believe that our target to increase the wild population, can produce and release at least 600 hatchlings into habitat, in five years forward is possible. This year, we will release 78 hatchlings into habitat.You can see all finalist at this link (only available in Bahasa Indonesia):

Bahasa Indonesia:
Kami sangat senang terpilih menjadi finalis Klik Hati Merck 2013 untuk kategori lingkungan. Pelestarian kura-kura air tawar, terutama spesies Tuntung Laut (Painted Terrapin/Batagur borneoensis) ke depannya masih membutuhkan waktu, penuh tantangan dan membutuhkan dukungan kamu. Namun, kami percaya bahwa target kami untuk meningkatkan populasi liar, dapat menghasilkan dan melepasliarkan sedikitnya 600 tukik ke habitat asli, adalah mungkin. Tahun ini kami akan melepaskan 78 ekor tukik ke habitat.

Kamu dapat melihat seluruh finalis di link beikut:

The Growth of Painted Terrapin Hatchling Looks Promising

The hatchling of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) that raised at rearing ponds of Satucita’s Conservation Center growth well for second month. The average length of carapace for May is 8.1 cm or increase 1.9 cm compared to April or increase 3.7 cm compared to March. The average length of carapace on March is 5.4 cm and on April is 6.2 cm.

It shows that during about two months raised at rearing ponds their carapace length have growth about 3.9 cm or increased 72 percent. These hatchlings will released into habitat on August.

If you are interested to support our conservation of Painted Terrapin, please do not hesitate to contact or donate to us.

Two months old of Painted Terrapin hatchling
Two months old of Painted Terrapin (B. borneoensis) hatchling

In Bahasa Indonesia:

Tukik (anakan) Tuntung Laut (Batagur borneoensis) yang dibesarkan di kolam pembesaran Pusat Pelestarian Satucita tumbuh dengan baik untuk bulan ke dua. Panjang karapas rata-rata untuk bulan Mei adalah 8,1 cm atau meningkat 1,9 cm dibandingkan dengan bulan April atau meningkat sepanjang 3,7 cm dibandingkan bulan Maret. Panjang rerata untuk Maret adalah 5,4 cm dan untuk bulan April 6,2 cm.

Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa selama sekitar dua bulan dibesarkan di kolam-kolam pmebesaran, panjang karapas mereka telah bertambah sepanjang 3,9 cm atau meningkat sebesar 72 persen. Anakan ini akan dilepaskan kembali ke habitat pada bulan Agustus.

Joko Guntoro - founder of Satucita Foundation - measuring the growth of Painted Terrapin (B. borneoensis) hatchling
Joko Guntoro – founder of Satucita Foundation – measuring the growth of Painted Terrapin (B. borneoensis) hatchling

Seandainya anda berminat untuk mendukung kegiatan kami, silahkan hubungi kami.

Non-Native Freshwater Turtle In Local Rivers

Freshwater turtles and tortoises imported from foreign countries due to their unique appearance . Two species that have evidence to reproduce in Indonesia wild  environment are Chinese Soft Shell Turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and Red Eared Slider (Trachremys scripta elegans).

Based on our field observation, information from turtle hobbyist and photos uploaded in social media such as facebook, it is confirmed that both of these species are able to reproduce in Indonesia wild environment. Their offspring are discovered in some rivers in Java and Sumatra, especially in big cities such as City of Medan and Surabaya.

invasive species_indonesia_red eared slider
a baby of red eared slider discovered in river (uploaded through facebook)

Nevertheless, the study to investigate their impact on rivers and another rivers species in these areas are not conducted yet. In another places and countries, both of these species are believed seriously impact on native rivers species such as fish. Even, considered produce negative impact on native environment. Therefore, it is needed to study their impact on Indonesia environment.

Both of these freshwater turtles inhabit local rivers can caused by some factors: the pet owners are bored to care and keep them, so release them to rivers; separated from the ponds due to flooding; releasing ceremony by religion group such as buddhism. An awareness to these group – pet owner/hobbyist, religion group –  are important to carry out, so the negative effect of non-native species to native environment are can be managed.

Poaching of Freshwater Turtle Seriously Impact on Endangered Species

Poaching of freshwater turtles to supply the food market has produced serious impact on endangered species. About a week ago, some carapace of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) and hundreds of Cuora amboinensis carapace found in a poacher in Province of Kalimantan Tengah. This province is habitat for B. borneoensis, O. borneensis, B. affinis, C. amboinensis.

freshwater turtle carapace, included Painted Terrapin, for sell
freshwater turtle carapace, included Painted Terrapin, for sell (photo: WenDrakula)

According to an information, the poacher said that these carapaces are for sell, but he did not know what would be used for,may be for traditional medicine purpose. These carapaces are the rest of the individuals that had been killed for their meat. Then the meat was supplied to the consumer market.

The collectors claimed that they did not aware that some of these turtles are Painted Terrapin, a species  that facing extinction globally. They assumed that all are a same species – Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis). Cuora amboinensis is a species that permitted and has quota for sell, weather for pet or food.

This is an evidence that a lack of poacher’s knowledge has produced serious troubles to survival of population of endangered freshwater turtle. Therefore, a possibility that female of B. borneoensis and other endangered species such as O. borneensis were also killed in the past are extensive due to the poachers could not identify the species and their sex correctly.

Building an interpretation hall

Currently an interpretation hall to accommodate students who want to visit the rearing facility and learn about Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) is being constructed. This small hall has 7 m length and 6 m width. This small hall is expected can accommodate about 30 students or participants.

This open space hall will be functioned as a discussion room and a media room where students or participants can watching a documentary movie or slide show about freshwater turtles conservation – particularly Painted terrapin and turtles in Aceh Tamiang – or environmental conservation.

a small interpretation hall is being constructed
a small interpretation hall, just next after the rearing ponds, is being constructed

Through this step, the students or local people will get the benefits such as an opportunity to see the Painted terrapin directly because it will be very difficult – to say impossible – to see the species in the wild. Now, they will see it directly, not only hear as before. We believe that this will be a step to tackle the lack of their knowledge about freshwater turtles, terrapin and their conservation. If you are interested to help us to this efforts, you contact us. (SF)