Project Update: Malaysia

Date: 20 November 2009
Source: Turtle Survival Alliance Newsletter

Dr. Chan's team working by the Setiu RiverThe TSA has supported Dr. Chan Eng Heng’s research program for river terrapins (Batagur) for many years, and will continue to be involved through the planned Turtle Conservation Centre. One aspect of these recovery programs includes headstart and release of hatchlings in the Setiu River. In order to measure the effectiveness of this technique, recapture and assessment is necessary over time.

Finding that attempting to recapture hatchlings using large-meshed gill nets was not effective, the recovery team instead enlisted the help of local fishermen, offering payments for turtles that are captured and turned into scientists for evaluation. This has proven to be highly effective and the team is happy to report a recapture rate of 15.7% in 2009 for terrapins released from 2005-2009. This initial data indicates that headstarted terrapins – when raised in the proper environment – are able to survive, grow and adapt to natural food sources. This is encouraging news and we hope that the science and techniques that Dr. Chan and her team have developed will be adopted by the other State-run Batagur program in Malaysia. More details can be found on the TCC blog by clicking here.

The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is defined as an IUCN Partnership Network for Sustainable Captive Management of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises, and in recent years has emerged as a global force for turtle conservation. Committed to zero turtle extinctions, and with programs or projects in ten Asian countries and Madagascar, the TSA is widely recognized as an action-oriented group capable of tackling difficult challenges. Strongly focused on species ranked Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the TSA’s niche is working in range countries where those species occur, developing the capacity for turtle conservation through training and empowerment, and generally emphasizing programs with a captive component (headstarting, captive breeding, and rescue).

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