Rote Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 192522803
Conservation of the Rote Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi) on Rote Island, Indonesia
C. mccordi has been recognised as a protected species by the Indonesian government since 2018, a major achievement since the project started in 2016. However, the species is no longer found in Rote Island, indicating the species is likely to already be extinct here. Three lakes have been identified that would provide suitable habitat for the turtle; Ledulu, Lendoen and Peto lakes. These areas have been successfully protected through designation status as Essential Ecosystem Areas (EEA) since June 2019. This project will focus on these three remaining habitats as reintroduction pilot sites.
Reintroduction is crucial for this species' survival in the wild. The identified reintroduction sites will be secured and properly surveyed and managed throughout this project.
1. Habitat management and protection
Through the EEA designation and its management plan, we aim to increase recognition from the local community of the value of a thriving wild turtle population. Value could be created for the local community through a new ecotourism initiative for Rote Island. This is a possibility because the local government has prioritized creating an ecotourism center in East Nusa Tenggara. Such a scheme would be supported by a complementary effort to recognise C. mccordi as an iconic species, like the Komodo dragon, to increase local pride in the turtle by the Rote people.
2. Perparation of reintroduction
To prepare the reintroduction process, we will conduct site studies to identify soft release sites at the lakes. Invertebrate and vertebrate species will be identified and investigated, as well as the carrying capacity of the lakes for turtles. Following these studies, WCS will develop a reintroduction protocol and guidelines. This protocol will be the first reintroduction protocol for any reptile species in Indonesia. We aim to release the first 10 turtles at the first soft release sites by the end of 2020.
Project 192522803 location - Indonesia, Asia