The last of their kind – Help now!

An aid project by “Carpus e.V.” (S. Schoppe) in Puerto Princesa, Philippines

News: On this page the carrier keeps you informed about the current situation of the project. This helps you judge how the donations are being used.

S. Schoppe (Project Manager), written about 2 months ago

S. Schoppe

Update from the Palawan Forest Turtle Crisis

I apologize for my silence but I really had not time to write blogs. The Palawan Forest Turtle Crisis took my full attention. But now we are almost back to normal.
As of today we are left with only six of the 3,831 Palawan Forest Turtles that had been confiscated on 17 June 2015. Meanwhile we were able to rehabilitate 3,379 individuals and release them back to the wild. Activities concentrate now on monitoring the turtles at the release sites. Sites are monitored monthly or bimonthly. Depending on habitat conditions and stream flow, we monitor some 1km up and downstream of the release site. We do visual encounter survey and trapping with baited funnel traps. We conduct interviews with locals, check for dead turtles, and individually notch all encounters. We check population composition of resident population and of released ones, and we check dispersal over time. We have found few dead individuals but most seem to be healthy and have establish at the release site.
No doubt, that this large confiscation has a long lasting impact on the wild population of S. leytensis. The extent of it we can only surmise in the years to come. Therefore we intend to also re-assess and monitor those populations that we had been monitoring in the past years through long term mark recaptures surveys. Likewise we need to assess areas where no detailed studies have been conducted in the past.
Overall mortality of the confiscated Palawan Forest Turtle was 11.5%, which is low compared to other large confiscations. This would have in no way been possible, had it not been for the prompt and swift action of an international team with the united goal of saving the Palawan Forest Turtle from extinction. Thanks you so much to all who contributed to this!!!
We will also start an information campaign with focus on the release sites. Furthermore, this year’s Turtle Day Celebration will be dedicated to the Palawan Forest Turtle. We celebrate Turtle Day with high school and college students since 2009. Normally we cover marine and freshwater turtles but this year we will exclusively talk about the Palawan Forest Turtle.
By now all temporarily enclosures have been dismantled and we will start working on renovating and expanding our facilities at the Katala Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation in Narra.
On behalf of Katala Foundation Inc., I would like to thank each and everybody who contributed in the one or another way to the rehabilitation of the turtles. Special thanks to the main players for without their generous financial support and/or technical assistance this crisis could have never been solved.

Thank you,


Help protect the Palawan Forest Turtle

S. Schoppe (Project Manager), written 3 months ago

S. Schoppe

I triggered a payout for these needs:

Turtle Tub€80.00
Monitoring of confiscated Palawan Forest Turtles€920.00

The money is intended for the monitoring of released Palawan Forest Turtles. From January to April some 309 Palawan Forest Turtles have been confiscated and turned over to Katala Foundation for rehabilitation and release back to the wild. Starting in February we have started monitoring released turtles. Some 50% of the generated donations were used for the monitoring activities between February and Mai 2015. The remainder will be used for monitoring activities between June and September.

S. Schoppe (Project Manager), written 5 months ago

S. Schoppe

Urgent call for help: some 4000 Palawan Forest Turtles confiscated

Dear all,
This is an urgent call for help.
Yesterday, June 17 some 4312 live and 90 dead freshwater turtles were confiscated in Southern Palawan. Last night they arrived at the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (the government organization in charge) in Puerto Princesa City who then requested Katala Foundation to take over. Since KFI can hardly handle such a large number we requested that most of them would be temporarily deposited at the Government Rescue Center (PWRCC) for species identification and assessment of health conditions. That is what we did today whole day. We counted 3748 live S. leytensis, 159 dead S. leytensis, 168 C. dentata and 25 C. amboinensis.
The total of 4137 is lower than what was published in the news yesterday (4312) which might reflect losses along the way and uncounted deaths.
They are in terrible conditions: dehydrated, malnourished, bite wounds, shell rot, etc. all showing that they have been kept in captivity for long. We presume that they have been collected all over the range of the species in Northern Palawan for the past of least 6 months. It further looks as if they were destined for China to be shipped out from where they were confiscated in the south of Palawan . The good news is that our estimates of the total wild population size was too low, but the bad news is that after this confiscation the estimate is most probably true again. It might be even too low since we know that some local populations in Taytay are already depleted.

The number of confiscated is more than KFI can handle due to the lack of facilities. So fare we took care of some 500 only. The remainder is still at the government rescue center, who only committed to keep them for a couple of days. They too don’t have the funds to take care of such a number of individuals, nor do they have the man power and knowledge about the husbandry of this species.

There two options A) keep them in the rescue center provided we (KFI) allocate the funds to cover all costs. But even with a lot of efforts, conditions there a not good for turtles. B) We lease a property with natural water, fence it and keep the turtles there until they are ready for release. I did survey potential areas this morning and found one feasible and affordable.

Definitely we hope to release them as soon as possible but that needs planning considering the large number and the fact that they are collected all over the northern part of the Province. We wish to do DNA sequencing hoping to identify source of origin. 

A very rough estimate of the most urgent needs of the turtles until release (some 3 months) amounts to some PHP505,000 or USD 12,000 excluding the DNA sampling which we believe should be done as well. Costs will just cover food, basic health care (incl deworming), water, husbandry, improvement of the facilities in which they are now or preparing a leased area, and morphology.
Please help me spreading this information and help me raising funds to rehabilitate these Palawan Forest Turtles.
Hoping for your feedback and support,

We need your help
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