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

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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)

release painted terrapin 2016

Release Painted Terrapin Hatchlings in Conservation Day

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.

Painted Terrapin Released Back Into Habitat

A total of 20 hatchlings of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis), an endangered species, released back on to the original habitat, Tamiang River, District of Aceh Tamiang (12/08/2015). According to the IUCN, Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) is a critically endangered species and listed in Top World’s 25 Most Endangered Turtles at the Global Level. Continue reading “Painted Terrapin Released Back Into Habitat”

Socialization to Strengthen Community Groups to Protect Species and Habitat

Socialization and discussion to conserve Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) and habitat was held in Subdistrict Seruway on 21 October 2015. The socialization and discussion was held to strengthen the knowledge and planning of Satucita Foundation and two community group that established to protect the species. The discussion giving result that the upcoming nesting patrol, habitat rehabilitation will involve community group.

In the opening speech, Head of Subdisctrict Government of Seruway said that the conservation of this species must be supported and would like to thank to Satucita Foundation that facilitate and help locals to preserve this critically endangered species.

Meanwhile, the Head of BKSDA Langsa, Bambang Harsoyo, presented the regulation of protection on animals and plants. He also supports the Aceh Tamiang Local Government to issue a local regulation to protect this species in the district.

Joko Guntoro, program director of Painted Terrapin conservation, presented the status and distribution of this species and some scientific findings and the method to preserve wildlifes, included Painted Terrapin. In addition, the establishment of two community group was aimed to protect the species and habitat. Therefore, he aksed the commitment of the member of these groups for working together to save this species from extinction. The foundation will help and facilitate the locals to do that when the same time develop opportinities to empower villagers, such as a possibility to develop ecotourism.

In the end of discussion, member of community said that they will working together with the foundation to save the species and asked the foundation to facilitate them to protect the species and habitat, included empowerment of ex-hunters that usually take benefits from selling the eggs. The majority of member of community group is hunters that educated by the foundation to form a group to protect the species. It is expected that the groups can be developed as community ranger and take benfits from conservation in the long term.

This event was opened by opening speech by Head of Subdistrict Government of Seruway. The event was attended by 23 participants from two community group, Satucita Foundation, BKSDA Resort Langsa, Subdistrict Government of Seruway. (SF)

Public Hearing to Protect Painted Terrapin in District Aceh Tamiang

Public hearing to protect Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) in District of Aceh Tamiang was held on 15-16 September 2015 in Regent Office. The public hearing was held to seek inputs, comments on the draft of Local Regulation on Protection of Painted Terrapin in Aceh Tamiang.

The meeting was attended by head of villages around of the habitat this critically endangered species, Aceh Tamiang Fisheries Office and another stakeholders. Before the discussion, the Vice Regent present opening talk to all participants. After the opening talk, a Head of Fisheries Office presented the draft and the reason of why this species must be protected in Aceh Tamiang.

Then, Satucita Foundation’s director Joko Guntoro presented scientific findings and what the foundation have done to conserved this species in Aceh Tamiang included nesting patrol, field monitoring, awareness.

As a conclusion, participants supported the draft and hope that the protection must involve local community.

The situation of public hearing:

public hearing on painted terrapin regulation aceh tamiang

public hearing on painted terrapin regulation aceh

public hearing on painted terrapin regulation

 

Painted Terrapin is Losing Their Habitat

One of many threats to survival of Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) in wild is habitat loss. Painted terrapin inhabits rivers and branches, estuaries. The destruction of riverine vegetations is believed will bring negative impact to Painted terrapin. The destruction and losing of riverine vegetations are meant losing of food and place for basking. Continue reading “Painted Terrapin is Losing Their Habitat”

Eleven Critically Endangered Species Painted Terrapin Released to Habitat

Eleven hatchlings of critically endangered freshwater turtle species Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) was released to its original habitat on 13 January 2015. The hatchlings are a result of our nesting patrol carried out in December 2013 to January 2014. In that nesting patrol, the eggs were secured from illegal harvesting. After secured, the eggs incubated in styrefoam boxes filled by sands.

The stakeholders releasing babies of Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis).
The stakeholders releasing babies of Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) (01/13)

Totally, since our preliminary study on 2010, 140 hatchlings have released into wild, their original habitat – estuaries, rivers. Fifty nine hatchlings were released on 2011, seventy seven on 2013 and eleven on 2015. The initiative is continuously develop the program to release more hatchlings this year and future, to recover wild population of this critically endangered species. To achieve this objective, annual nesting patrol, incubation, raising (headstarting), public campaign, field monitoring and researches, habitat reforestation are developed and implemented continuously.

Some organizations have supported our programs since this initiative launched. Thank you for following organizations: Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Chester Zoo Conservation Grant, PT Pertamina EP Rantau, Turtle Conservation Alliance.

How Fast the Growth of Painted Terrapin Hatchling?

How fast the growth of Painted terrapin hatchling?

A Painted terrapin hatchling, named Roni who was blind from birth, was hatchedon 26 March 2013. Roni did not released back to the wild because he is blind so it is feared that he will not being able to survive well in the wild. Due to this reason, Roni has been reared in captivity in the pond. Currently Roni aged 1 year 1 month 9 days or 404 days old. She/he was hatched with a carapace length of 5.2 cm and 4.7 cm width. While currently the carapace length of 11.8 cm. Thus, Roni has been grew 6.6 cm after 404 days in captivity. When Roni was 1 month old – on April 2013 -, his/her carapace length only 6.3 cm. In other words, the growth during the first month is 1.1 cm. Continue reading “How Fast the Growth of Painted Terrapin Hatchling?”