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)


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?”

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.

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)

Establishing Headstarting Facility for Batagur borneoensis

The headstarting facility for Painted Terrapin has been established and still improved. In the area of 800 square meters, the facility is functioned as ex-situ conservation place to support in-situ conservation of Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) in Aceh Tamiang District. Batagur borneoensis is critically endangered species and listed as one of twenty five global freshwater turtle in endangered 2011 (Turtle Conservation Coalition). The species is distributed in Sumatera and Kalimantan, but has been facing threats to extinction in the wild due to the consumption the their eggs, the trade as pet and medicine, habitat loss (deforestation and land conversion). Continue reading “Establishing Headstarting Facility for Batagur borneoensis”

Releasing Painted Terrapin

Kuala Simpang (Satucita),

Three Painted terrapin (Batagur borneonsis, formerly known as callagur borneonsis) released to their habitat after captured by local fishermen. Releasing carried out in Sungai Iyu Subdistrict, Aceh Tamiang Regency, on 9th of August 2009.

Before released, a team from SatuCita consist of Joko Guntoro and Udin taken some basic characteristic from that terrapin: measure their carapace, weighing. The length of their carapace between 48 cm – 57 cm and the weight between 16,3 kg – 22,7 kg. These three female Painted terrapin has important for nesting and sustainability of this species.

In the short discussion between team and fishermen who captured the species, Sanusi, 51 years old, said that this accidently. By information given by his friend, he contacted SatuCita to inform this capture. When Joko Guntoro and Udin came to village to see the species and releasing them, Sanusi asked Rp 200.000 for one Painted terrapin. After short discussion, in order to releasing Painted terrapin to lives freely in wildlife, Joko agree to pay Rp 600.000 for three Painted terrapin and give information to Sanusi and his friend who attended that actually the problem is not about the money, but Painted terrapin must be conserved because they playing a role to make estuaries and river ecosystem healty. So, painted terrapin also important for fishermen’s lifes.

In that time, Sanusi also said that many Painted terrapin lives in the river and nesting in beaches around village, although he can not make estimation how many the population.