Indotestudo forstenii is included in CITES Appendix II and has an annual export quota of 135 with a minimum straight carapace length of 17 cm. They are not listed as a protected species within Indonesia, according to the most recent report published by the Minister of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia.
The species has been successfully captive bred in a few programs in Indonesia (M. Kusrini, pers. comm. 2018). There has also been significant breeding success in many institutions and among private individuals in the United States (C. Light pers. comm. 2018).
Intensive field surveys will continue to be conducted to document population size and distribution and to collect biological and ecological data and will continue until robust data is accumulated (C. Light pers. comm. 2018).
Indotestudo forstenii is endemic to central and northern Sulawesi and Halmahera, Indonesia. In North Sulawesi North Sulawesi, it is found in Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary (L. Clayton pers. comm. February 2021), and on Mount Boliahutu and around Buol, while in Central Sulawesi Province, it is found in Santigi, Morowali Reserve, Palu Valley, Kulawi Valley, Bora Village near Gimpu, and along the western border of Lore Lindu National Park.
No population data exists for this species at present. In February of 2019, for the first time ever, two Western Chelonian Researchers encountered an individual in the wild (C. Light, unpub. data). In 2018 population surveys conducted within the Central Sulawesi Province, covering a period of 21 days, yielded no tortoises (C. Light, unpub. data). A report from Central Sulawesi found six individuals from a total of 847.95 ha area surveyed in ten sites (Riyanto et al. 2010). A natural disaster that hit Central Sulawesi in 2018 probably caused loss of some population in Palu and nearby due to the tsunami and liquefaction. Severe exploitation for the pet trade and consumption has significantly impacted the species, and combined with extensive habitat loss has led to a suspected ongoing reduction in population of over 80% in three generations.
Current threats include severe and rampant habitat destruction and excessive collection primarily for the pet trade.
During five years (from 2001 to 2005) the forest habitat in Cape Santigi, in central Sulawesi was reduced by 60.04 % (rate = 419.25 ha/year) (Riyanto et al. 2010). In 2018, researchers observed a new road being built directly through prime habitat (Light, pers. comm. 2018). The earthquake and tsunami that hit central Sulawesi is also likely to have degraded the habitat of some populations. The species is also consumed locally by people transmigrated to Sulawesi from Java and Bali (C. Light pers. comm. 2018). This trend has continued, with excessive logging and the building of roads through prime habitat observed in 2017 and 2018 (C. Light pers. comm. 2018). The species appears for sale daily on social media sites, and is commonly observed in pet stores in Jakarta (C. Light pers. obs. 2018).