The project was initiated in 2011 in three villages, upon our discovery that the river terrapins existed in the Kemaman River, but action to conserve the species was non-existent. With the collaboration from the local communities, we have successfully incubated more than 3,000 terrapin eggs and released more than 1,500 terrapin hatchlings into the Kemaman River.
This project was initiated in 2004 to rehabilitate the severely depleted population of river terrapins in the Setiu River. The project involves the purchase of river terrapin eggs from local egg collectors, incubation of the eggs and head-starting the hatchlings for release. All the terrapins are microchipped for individual identification before release. To date, the project has incubated more then 2,300 river terrapin eggs and released more than 1,200 river terrapin hatchlings into the Setiu River.
Five Turtle Awareness Programmes were carried out in 2013. In each programme, a talk on terrapins and sea turtles was given to the 10- and 11-year-old students. They were also shown a short animation based on “Little Turtle Messenger.” After a short break, the students were engaged in two turtle-related activities to further enforce the lessons learned. At the end of the programme, each student receives a Certificate of Participation.
Through this project, we were able to train Kazlina bt. Mat Ali, a local villager to incubate river terrapin eggs and observe the incubation process. Kazlina and her teenage daughter were also trained to weigh, measure and head-start the river terrapin hatchlings before the latter were released.
Head-started river terrapins released into the Setiu River were microchipped to enable us to monitor their growth in the wild. Terrapins that were caught in fishermen’s nets were scanned for microchip IDs, weighed and measured. Our results indicate that the head-started terrapins were able to survive in the wild and achieved body weight gains of up to 7 kg and increase in carapace length of 22 cm over a period of 5 years.
The objectives of this project were six-fold–including assessing the presence of river terrapins in major rivers in Terengganu; elucidating the threats to the river terrapins; involving the local villagers and the general public in conserving the species and developing a recovery plan for the species.