Nature and the Environment
in the News

Source: Turtle Survival Alliance
Date: November 20, 2009

Batagur Project Update - Malaysia

The 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.