The Satucita Foundation (Yayasan Satucita Lestari Indonesia) is a registered non-profit organisation aimed at the conservation of freshwater turtles, tortoises and terrapins in Indonesia and their habitat, particularly those in Northern Sumatra. The foundation carries out activities through research, conservation education, head-starting and community-based activities.
ASAP Species That We Work On
- Painted Terrapin Batagur borneoensis
Currently, the Satucita Foundation is actively working to conserve the Critically Endangered Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) and is also expecting to cover other turtle, tortoise and terrapin species in Indonesia. The threats facing the Painted Terrapin are:
Habitat loss due to land conversion for farming, oil palm and charcoal has resulted in the destruction of riverine vegetation which the Painted Terrapin relies on. Riverine vegetation such as Berembang are important sources of food for the terrapin and it is uncertain how the species will adapt to this change.
Already, hundreds of hectares of riverine areas have been converted in Indonesia, not only negatively impacting the Critically Endangered Painted Terrapins, but also to fisheries which nearby villages rely on.
Poaching and Harvesting of Eggs
Although poaching is not as massive as it was in the 1990s, Painted Terrapin adults are still being caught for the illegal pet trade or for medicinal purposes. Eggs of the Painted Terrapin are also poached from the nest in the wild to supply to the pet market.
What We Do
In 2011, the Satucita Foundation established a head-starting Turtle Conservation Facility for the Painted Terrapin. The 800m2 facility functions as an ex-situ conservation site to support in-situ conservation in the Aceh Tamiang District.
The simple facility has three ponds - one for eggs, one for hatchlings and one for juveniles. These ponds create a safe environment for the turtles to grow, improving their chances of survival. It is expected that this facility can be developed to cover more endangered species in Indonesia.
The Satucita Foundation regularly carries out annual nesting patrols to secure eggs from nesting beaches every nesting season. These eggs are then hatched and reared in the facility before being released back into the wild.
As of 2014, a total of 144 Painted Terrapin hatchlings have been head-started. Another 20 hatchlings will be released into wild in 2015. The foundation aims to release at least 500 hatchlings by 2017. Initial efforts using the natural incubation method has produced a high success rate. Therefore, the 2017 target is believed to be highly achievable.
The Satucita Foundation conducts conservation education through campaigns, training, workshops and seminars. These activities help to educate the locals and students on the importance of saving freshwater turtles and their environment. As of 2015, more than 5,000 local people have been engaged in conservation education. The Painted terrapin was even chosen as mascot in Aceh Boy Scout Camping Week in 2014!
The Satucita Foundation has established, trained and facilitated two community group in the reforestation of the riverine vegetation. About 10,000 Berembang (Sonneratia sp.) will be planted in 2015. The foundation is aiming to reforest destructed riverine vegetation in order to restore the habitat of the Painted terrapin while also supporting local livelihood through fisheries.
Research and field monitoring
In order to conserve the Painted Terrapin, the Satucita Foundation conducts studies on the species, learning more about its ecology, natural history, distribution and more. The research team carries out field surveys every two years to monitor the status of the species. .
Where We Work
Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
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Featured image: Joko Guntoro - Satucita Foundation