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.


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.

Roni The Blind Painted Terrapin

Roni is a name given to an individual of freshwater turtlePainted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) – was born in our facility. He was born on March 26, 2013. His identity number is 80. The egg was found and secured from the beach on January 1, 2013, along with 14 another eggs in a nest located. However, from a total of 15 eggs in the clutch, only 9 eggs hatched successfully in rearing facility. Roni is one of them. Thus, it can be said that currently Roni has 8 brother / sister. But, only Roni who was born blind.

Roni the blind painted terrapin
Roni the blind painted terrapin

Although he is blind, his growth remains good. During April, his carapace length increased 1.1 cm, while width grew 1 cm. When he was born, the carapace length only 5.2 cm and 4.7 cm in wide. Now the carapace length is 6.3 cm and 5.7 cm in wide.

However, when compared with another hatchlings, his response to external stimulants is little slower. If another offspring diving immediately into the water when approached by people, he remained silent swimming on the surface. Therefore, we can catch him easily. Seeing this condition, we consider that Roni will not released into habitat because it would be easy for predators to catch him in the wild.

Roni the blind painted terrapin
Roni the blind painted terrapin

Nevertheless, he was still able to eat well. When we give food Kangkung (Ipomoea sp) or pellets into the pond, he was engaged to  chewed it with relish.

Bahasa Indonesia

Roni Si Kura-kura Buta

Roni adalah anak kura-kura air tawar (freshwater turtle species) Tuntung laut (Painted terrapin, Batagur borneoensis) yang menetas di fasilitas pembesaran . Ia lahir tanggal 26 Maret 2013. Ia adalah anak kura-kura ke 80 yang menetas di pembesaran. Karena itu, ia diberi nomor 80. Telur Roni diamankan dari pantai pada tanggal 1 Januari 2013, bersama dengan 14 telur lainnya yang terletak  di dalam satu sarang. Namun, dari total 15 telur di dalam sarang itu, hanya 9 telur yang menetas dan Roni merupakan salah satunya. Dengan demikian, saat ini Roni memiliki 8 kakak/adik dari satu ibu. Hanya Roni yang terlahir buta.

Roni the blind painted terrapin
Roni the blind painted terrapin

Walaupun buta, pertumbuhannya tetap baik. Selama bulan April panjang karapasnya bertambah 1,1 cm, sedangkan lebarnya bertambah 1 cm. Ketika ia lahir, panjang karapasnya hanya 5,2 cm dan lebarnya 4,7 cm. Kini panjang karapasnya 6,3 cm dan lebarnya 5,7 cm.

Namun, jika dibandingkan dengan tukik yang lain, responnya terhadap stimulan sedikit lebih lambat. Jika tukik yang lain segera masuk ke air ketika mengetahui ada orang mendekat di kolam, ia tetap diam berenang di permukaan air. Bahkan, kami dapat menangkapnya dengan mudah. Melihat kondisi ini sepertinya Roni tidak akan kami lepas ke habitat karena ia akan mudah dimangsa predator di alam.

Roni the blind painted terrapin
Roni the blind painted terrapin

Meskipun begitu, ia tetap dapat makan dengan baik. Ketika kami memberi makanan kangkung atau pelet ke dalam kolam, ia pun bergerak mencapainya dan mengunyahnya dengan lahap.

Southern river terrapin

Tuntung sungai is Indonesian name for this species. The southern river terrapin (Batagur affinis) is a turtle of the Batagur family found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. This species is protected in Indonesia. Spread in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Very rare to find in the wild, even in collectors. A survey in east cost Sumatra could not find the specimen, although local people can identify this species. They have four claw. Nesting season is estimated February to April in Indonesia.

Batagur affinis in Malaysia (photo: Eng Heng Chan)

Many Asian turtles are in danger because of the thriving trade in animals in the region, where a species’ rarity can add to its value on a menu or as a traditional medicine. An effort to find the colony and conserve this species is on progress by Satucita Foundation.

batagur affinis
Batagur affinis