The SatuCita Foundation focuses on conserving turtles, tortoises, and nature in Indonesia, especially in North Sumatra.
Out of the 31 species that live in Indonesia, five species are listed in the top 25 most endangered turtles, and two species are at high risk of extinction.
One of these turtle species is the Critically Endangered painted terrapin, which faces many threats. Villagers and fishermen take terrapin eggs to sell or eat, and mangrove forests, an important habitat for the terrapins, are also being destroyed for charcoal production and oil palm plantations. After conducting a study showing the decrease of painted terrapin populations, Sumatran conservationist Joko Guntoro founded the SatuCita Foundation in 2012.
Joko Guntoro, a young Sumatran conservationist, left his job at a well-established, orangutan conservation organisation to set up a new initiative for the painted terrapin. Read Joko’s story. Image © Chester Zoo
A large part of SatuCita’s work, which Synchronicity Earth funds through the Asian Species Programme, is ex situ conservation (conserving a species outside its natural habitat e.g., captive breeding). To prevent egg predation, team members collect terrapin eggs from two different nesting site beaches. The eggs are then reburied or incubated in SatuCita’s hatchery, and after being raised as hatchlings, the terrapins are released into estuaries.
Since 2013, the foundation has released over 4000 hatchlings into the wild, with plans to start captive breeding in the future. SatuCita has additionally trained local community groups to reforest significant areas of mangroves and rainforest. Not only does this protect the terrapin’s habitat, but it also increases the productivity of fisheries and income from educational tourism.
SatuCita believes that the conservation of wildlife must benefit and empower the local community. Therefore, the foundation offers conservation training and educates local people about the environment and how to save freshwater turtles. Locals can access further information about painted terrapin and mangroves through SatuCita’s Painted Terrapin Information Center. Outside of the local community, the foundation provides online conservation talks and a conservation training course for anyone interested.