Painting a new future for a Critically Endangered terrapin

Painted terrapin © Chester Zoo

By |2022-09-26T13:21:58+00:00December 20th, 2021|Asian Species, Captive Breeding, Conservation Optimism, Southeast Asia|Comments Off on Painting a new future for a Critically Endangered terrapin

SatuCita Foundation is one of the newest partners in Synchronicity Earth’s Asian Species Programme with a particular focus on one Critically Endangered species: the painted terrapin. Anna Heath writes about the mission of a young Sumatran conservationist to save a remarkable freshwater turtle from extinction.

“Someone must do something to help this species.” These were the words of Joko Guntoro, a young Sumatran conservationist, when he left his job at a well-established, orangutan conservation organisation to set up a new initiative for an obscure freshwater turtle in his home province of Aceh in northern Sumatra.

One of the world’s rarest freshwater turtles

The painted terrapin is a river turtle found in just four countries in Southeast Asia. It is known for the remarkable transformation which males of the species undergo every year during their breeding season. When the time comes to mate, the males of the species are utterly transformed, from a nondescript brown to an extraordinarily colourful turtle, with a distinctly patterned shell and a white head with a bright red stripe between their eyes.