Kemaman River Terrapin Research and Conservation Project

Through the questionnaire-based survey that was conducted in 2010, it was found that the critically endangered river terrapins (Batagur affinis) were present in the Kemaman River, and that this information had not been documented before. Needless to say, action to conserve the species was non-existent. Realizing the importance of saving the terrapin population in the Kemaman River, TCS initiated a river terrapin research and conservation project in Kemaman in 2011, with the approval and support from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the collaboration from villagers of Kg. Tok Kapor, Kg. Pasir Gajah and Kg. Dadong.

The following table shows the number of eggs that have been collected for incubation, number of river terrapins that have been hatched and released since 2011.

YearNo. eggs incubatedNo. hatchlingsNo. hatchlings releasedNo. hatchlings died
TOTAL4,7433,0182,80157
2011649233233-
20121,4681,02697551
2013486380380-
2014468326326-
2015335257257-
20163572362306
2017760440300-
2018220120100-

Acknowledgements:

  • The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Turtle Conservation Fund for the much-needed financial support to carry out the project in 2012 and 2013.
  • Berjaya Cares Foundation for a grant to support the project in 2014.
  • CIMB Foundation for sponsoring the initial 300 pieces of ProID microchips.
  • Prof. Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad (UKM) for sponsoring some field equipments, including a GPS, stainless steel and digital calipers.
  • John Wade (MicrochipID Systems, USA) for sponsoring a microchip scanner.
  • District and Land Office of Kemaman for gazetting three nesting banks along the Kemaman River as reserves.
  • Perhilitan for putting up the Warning signboards on the nesting banks along the Kemaman River.
  • The “Terrapin Gang” — Wazir, Perik, Zul, Dollah, Din, Nasir and Rosli — for being so enthusiastic about the project, and for providing the much-appreciated laughters on a daily basis.
  • Hannah Xavier and Shayna Sapri for volunteering their time for the project in 2012.
  • Dr. Gerald Kuchling from University of Western Australia for joining us and performing the ultrasound scans of the post-nesting female terrapins in 2013.
  • Pelf’s Mum, Mdm. Lai Kow Lian, for being her assistant throughout the entire 2013 and 2014 nesting season.