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)

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


Achievements at Second Anniversary

Today we celebrate our second anniversary. The Satucita Foundation (Yayasan Satucita Lestari Indonesia) was found on 15 October 2012. Previously, the foundation is an organisation that registered as community group.  Then, the group transformed into a new form  – as a foundation – to accelerate our wildlife conservation efforts.

Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis), male (left), hatchlings, female (right)
Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis), male (left), hatchlings, female (right)

We have faced many challenges and achieved some results since founded. The results we have been achieved are:

  1. Totally 144 hatchlings of Painted terrapin have been released into wild to increase the wild population
  2. 2 paper of Painted terrapin published in international recognized scientific journal, 2 documentary broadcasted in national television, articles published in local newspaper and national magazine
  3. More than of 4,000 peoples have been trained and informed on Painted terrapin status and conservation, included how to identify another freshwater turtles found in Aceh Tamiang
  4. Established a simple and basic headstarting facility
  5. Launched a new tradition to release hatchlings of Painted terrapin annually.
  6. The habitat and range of Painted terrapin have been investigated
  7. We have 1,093 followers on social media (facebook, twitter, blog)
  8. We have supported by internation recognized organisation such asTurtle Survival Alliance, Turtle Conservation Fund, Chester Zoo, Mohammed bin Zayed Conservation Fund, Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, PT Pertamina EP Field Rantau. We also have build good coordination with governement and  other local conservation organisation.
Team of Yayasan SatuCita Lestari Indonesia (Satucita Foundation)
Team of Yayasan SatuCita Lestari Indonesia (Satucita Foundation)

Nevertheless, we are realize that many things to do in the future to achieve our vision, a harmony between human and nature. We believe that vision is possible to achieved. Therefore, we would like to thanks to our funders, supporters, followers, partners. Without their support, it is impossible to achieve the results and to overcome the challenges in the future.

If you want to help us, please, do not hestitate to contact us at satucita.foundation (at) gmail.com.

Thank you!

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 www.iucnredlist.org

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): http://www.klikhati.com/category/profil-finalis/lingkungan-hidup/

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: http://www.klikhati.com/category/profil-finalis/lingkungan-hidup/

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.