Painted Terrapins found in North Sumatra

by Jordan Gray

Our partner Joko Guntoro of the Satucita Foundation reports that in the past two months, two female critically endangered Painted Terrapins (Batagur borneoensis) have been found in the province of North Sumatra, Indonesia. These two specimens are the first Painted Terrapins to be identified by the Satucita Foundation in the province.

On 13 December 2017, a female Painted Terrapin was incidentally captured by fishermen in the Langkat Regency of North Sumatra. The turtle was reported to the Department of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry (BKSDA) Section II - Langkat. The day following its capture, the staff of the Satucita Foundation and BKSDA – Langkat collected morphometric data on the turtle, inserted a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag, and released the turtle back into the estuary.

Top: The first documented Painted Terrapin in North Sumatra. Botom: Ahmaddin (BKSDA - Langkat), Yusriono (Satucita Foundation), and Anto (Secretary of Community Group) release the female Painted Terrapin into the estuary.

Following the finding, the Satucita Foundation, in collaboration with the BKSDA – Langkat, and a community villager, performed nesting surveys in the Langkat Regency through 28 January 2018. Through these surveys, they identified 5 nests of Painted Terrapin; however, none of the nests contained viable eggs for protection. Two of the nests appeared to have been depredated by predators, while the other three appeared to have been harvested by local fishermen.

On 29 January 2018, less than two months later, and fittingly the day following the final nesting survey in the Langkat Regency, a second adult female Painted Terrapin was identified in North Sumatra. Like the previous female, the critically endangered turtle was incidentally caught by fishermen in Langkat. Her capture was immediately reported to the BKSDA Section II - Langkat and the Satucita Foundation. The presence of this female is exceptional news, considering that she is only the second physical specimen of her kind recorded from the province.

After receiving the information regarding the ensnared turtle, the Satucita Foundation's chairman Yusriono, and staff members of the BKSDA made the four-hour trek by minibus, motorbike, and boat viagra pas cher back to the village where she was being held. The turtle was found to have been incidentally snagged on the leg by a fishing hook. After giving her a health examination, recording morphometric measurements, and inserting a PIT tag beneath her skin for future monitoring, she too was released back into the estuary.

Top: The second documented Painted Terrapin in North Sumatra. Bottom: Yusriono (Satucita Foundation) releases the female Painted Terrapin back into the estuary.

Meanwhile in the Aceh province, Joko and his team, in collaboration with the BKSDA – Langsa, and two community villagers, continue their nesting patrols on the beaches of the Aceh Tamiang Regency. The patrols in the Aceh Tamiang Regency, where the Satucita Foundation's primary efforts for Painted Terrapins are focused, have thus far resulted in the finding, excavation, and relocation of 423 eggs from 27 nests this season. On an interesting note, the team also successfully secured one Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest contains 119 eggs on 7 February while patrolling for Painted Terrapins. Both species will utilize the same estuarine nesting beaches. With nesting patrols continuing until early March, stay tuned for more exciting news from Sumatra!