The annual release of river terrapins in Terengganu, organized by the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS), saw around 800 members of the public gather at the banks of Sungai Kemaman to witness the event.
This year’s release involved 300 hatchlings, highlighting the commitment of Kampung Pasir Gajah villagers to conserve this threatened species.
TCS executive director Dr. Chen Pelf Nyok praised the villagers, known as “Terrapin Guardians,” for their increased cooperation in protecting river terrapin eggs from four riverbanks along Sungai Kemaman.
This year, 1,035 eggs were collected for incubation, compared to 668 eggs collected last year, resulting in 638 river terrapin hatchlings being produced.
The hatchlings were “hardened” for up to five months before being released into the wild.
Air Putih assemblyman Mohd Hafiz Adam emphasized the importance of protecting the terrapins and commended TCS and local communities in his speech at the event.
River terrapins are a rare species of freshwater turtles found only in southern Thailand, Cambodia, and Peninsular Malaysia.
Watsons Malaysia’s marketing and customer growth general manager, Danny Ho, presented a contribution as a sign of support at the annual river terrapin release organized by the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS).
Ho praised Watsons Malaysia’s consistent support for planet-saving initiatives.
The river terrapin, also known as tuntung in Malay, is a totally protected species listed in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and is found only in Kedah, Perak, and Terengganu.
TCS initiated the River Terrapin Conservation Project in 2011 with support from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and villagers from Kampung Pasir Gajah.
The project has saved over 8,220 terrapin eggs from human consumption and released more than 4,500 hatchlings into Sungai Kemaman.
The event also included free health screening for the public and an exhibition on various turtle conservation projects, including Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, initiatives by the Malaysian Nature Society, and the Sea Turtle Research Unit of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.
For more information on terrapin conservation, visit www.turtleconservationsociety.org.my.
Are Diamondback Terrapins Aggressive?
Diamondback terrapins are known for their social and docile nature, setting them apart from other turtle species.
They approach other turtles and their owners with friendly gestures, but they are capable of aggression when necessary.
Although they do not display hostility frequently, many turtle species become stressed during frequent handling or interaction sessions, such as map turtles, softshell turtles, and snapping turtles.
Map turtles are generally friendly, but they can attack in certain situations, and Mississippi map turtles biting their tank mates or owners is not uncommon.
Snapping and softshell turtles can become aggressive due to improper habitat management or frequent handling, and Florida softshell turtles are known for biting.
Compared to these species, diamondback terrapins are less hostile and can adjust and compromise in most situations due to their social nature.
However, they will not hesitate to engage in combat, if necessary, as they have razor-like and powerful jaws that can cause serious damage.
With a medium size range of 5-11 inches, their sharp bites can be dangerous. It is crucial not to take advantage of a terrapin’s docile nature and to handle them with care to avoid being bitten. Learn more here, Are Diamondback Terrapins Aggressive? [Yes & No?]