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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save turtles and terrapins

Let’s save turtles!

Let’s save turtles! The Painted Terrapin Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is sponsoring a fundraising campaign through t-shirt sales at Bonfire.com to support efforts in the wild to save the critically endangered Painted terrapin and other turtle species from extinction. We are supporting the efforts of the Satucita Foundation. The Satucita Foundation helps to save the Painted terrapin in the wild by conducting field research, community outreach, and releasing turtles! Help us help the heroes who are making a difference!

save turtles and terrapins

The Painted Terrapin AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program strives to manage and conserve an endangered ex situ species population with the cooperation of AZA-accredited institutions. SSP Programs develop a Breeding and Transfer Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population. The Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) is an aquatic estuarine turtle and one of the most endangered river turtles in South East Asia. During the breeding season the head of the males turn white and a red stripe appears between his eyes giving it a ‘painted’ appearance which is how it gets its name. Along side our efforts to manage captive populations we aim to educate and support conservation efforts of the Painted terrapin. After all, the ultimate goal is to see these turtles living in the wild unthreatened and thriving. The Satucita Foundation is a great conservation champion who play an instrumental role of saving these turtles and we hope you can help support their needs.

The Satucita Foundation (Yayasan Satucita Lestari Indonesia) was founded and registered in Minister of Law and Human Rights in 2012. This small and local foundation was founded by conservationist Joko Guntoro. The idea to form the group – that transformed to a foundation – is based on the result of preliminary study on the Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) that was conducted by Joko Guntoro. The study found that the population of this species was threatened by egg poaching, habitat loss, and had disappeared in many locations. Unfortunately, the same threats were also found to other freshwater turtles and tortoises. Therefore, to conserve this species effectively, when there were no organizations that had interest and attention to do it, a special organization must be formed. So, the Satucita was established to overcome the challenges and threats.

The Satucita Foundation’s vision is to “to achieve a harmony between human and nature” with an aim to conserve other reptiles and amphibians, particularly freshwater turtles and tortoises in northern Sumatera, Indonesia. Since it was found, the Foundation is actively working – in situ and ex situ – on Painted Terrapin conservation. To achieve their vision, the following activities are implemented:

1. Field research and monitoring
2. Environmental education and campaign
3. Establish head starting facility as educationand conservation facility
4. Developing local livelihood to support speciesand habitat conservation

By participating in this fundraiser you will be supporting the Satucita Foundation and local turtles. Your donation will be used to help carry out field monitoring and surveying, nesting patrols, field research, increasing awareness, improving their head starting facility and conservation center, and restoring habitat. Thank you for exploring the possibility to support Painted terrapin conservation. Save Turtles with Satucita!

Note from us:

  1. You can participate in this fundraising event by click and visiting this link save turtles!
  2. Please share it to your friend and colleagues if you think that this is worthed!
  3. This campaign is launched by Painted Terrapin Species Survival Plan (SSP). The text source is https://www.bonfire.com/save-turtles-with-satucita/
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)

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

 

Three hatchlings of Painted terrapin Was Born

Three hatchlings of  Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) was born on 15 March 2015. These babies were born from a nest that secured on 3 December 2014. More eggs are expected to hatch in few days forward. The eggs are incubated in styrefoam boxes filled by sand and placed in our headstarting facility.

Hatchling of Painted terrapin that hatched on 15 March.
Hatchling of Painted terrapin that hatched on 15 March.

More than of three hundreds eggs of twenty nest successfully secured bu our nesting patrol activities that conducted during December 2014 to January 2015. The eggs secured from two main nesting beaches in Seruway Subdistrict. We regularly carry out nesting patrol in these beaches every nesting season. (SF)

 

 

Secured More Painted Terrapin Eggs

Team of Satucita Foundation were successfully secured more eggs on 13 and 14 December. 18 eggs on 13 Dec and 20 eggs on 14 Dec. So, totally we have secured and incubated 90 eggs. About 6-8 nests had been harvested by fishermen on November. So, about 11-13 nests have been counted so far.

Compared with the same period in last year, the number of nesting in this year is lower.

Painted Terrapin Eggs Secured From Poaching

One nest with 20 eggs have been secured by our nesting patrol team from poaching on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (4/12). Another 32 eggs of two nests (18 and 14 in each nest) have been secured on Friday night/Saturday morning (6/12). Totally, the nesting patrol successfully secured 52 eggs of three nests so far.

Villagers always hunt or collect the Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) eggs every nesting season. Therefore, nesting patrol to secure and hatch the eggs are conducted every nesting season. This is one of many efforts to increase the stock of wild population.

Hundreds of Aceh Scout Learn Painted Terrapin Conservation

Hundreds of Participants of Aceh Scout Camping Week Learn Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) Conservation at our headstarting facility from 23 September to 28 September 2014.

Some Participants of Aceh Scout Camping Week Visited Headstarting Ponds
Some Participants of Aceh Scout Camping Week Visited Headstarting Ponds

At headstarting facility, students scout watching documentary movie about our nesting patrol, learning biology, ecology and conservation of Painted terrapin carried out by us, how to raise the hatchling at headstarting ponds, playing games and icebreaker facilitated by our staff.

students handling the turtles
students handling the turtles

About 1200 students scout that take become participant in Aceh Scout Camping Week are come from 23 districts of Province of Aceh.  From that total number, more than of 400 scout or one third of total participants visited our headstarting facility located in Village Sidodadi, Subdistrict Kejuruan Muda, District of Aceh Tamiang, Province of Aceh.

our facilitator explaining the hatchling of painted terrapin to students scout
our facilitator explaining the hatchling of painted terrapin to students scout

In this Aceh Scout Camping Week that was held on 23 to 28 September 2014, Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) – a critically endangered freshwater turtle species – become an icon or mascot. Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) was choosen to be a mascot by Aceh Tamiang to increase public awareness to save this species from extinction. According some surveys, included carried by Satucita Foundation, from researchers, this species has been extincted in some locations in east coast of Sumatera. Aceh Tamiang is believed to be the last stronghold for this species.

students watching the hatchlings in the ponds
students watching the hatchlings in the ponds

The Painted terrapin conservation carried out by Satucita Foundation has been obtained some support from many organizations since its preliminary study in 2010. That organizations are Turtle Survival Alliance, Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Turtle Conservation Fund, small grant from Chester Zoo, PT Pertamina EP Field Rantau. This initiative are also supported by some individuals. (SF)

founder and researcher of Satucita Foundation explaing the activities carried out by foundation to save the species from extinction
founder and researcher of Satucita Foundation explaing the activities carried out by foundation to save the species from extinction
IMG_6876
student scout handling the hatchling in the pond
staff of Satucita Foundation and BKSDA Aceh
staff of Satucita Foundation and BKSDA Aceh

First field survey in 2014

Our team have carried out field survey to estimate the population, range, movement of Painted terrapin in Aceh Tamiang, between 22-27 June 2014. Five individuals were captured in that period. All of them are new capture. Ten traps were placed in Tamiang River, near by the village Pusong Kapal, every day. The traps were regularly checked every four to five hours.

Unfortunately, one male found dead in the trap. This is for the first time since we had applied the method since 2012. May be this dead is because of the long checking time. Therefore, the shorter checking time will be applied in the next survey. A Crocodilus porosuscrossing the Tamiang River was also found in the survey. This is an evidence that Painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) and Crocodilus porosus have a same habitat.

This survey is a part of our activities to conserve this species. The next is scheduled on August. The survey is conducted every two year. The last survey was carried out on June to August 2012.

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