Friday, March 10, 2023

Like many of the world's turtles, the Malaysian giant turtle is critically endangered and over the past 90 years, the population has decreased by 80%. Nordens Ark is now entering into the work of saving the species.

With a maximum length of 80 cm, the Malaysian giant turtle (Orlitia borneoensis) is Asia's largest hard-shelled turtle. In the wild, the turtle lives in lakes, swamps and slow-flowing rivers of Malaysia and Indonesia.

-The situation for the species,  just like most other turtles, is alarming, says Jimmy Helgesson, who is responsible for the turtles at Nordens Ark. Over the past 90 years, the population has decreased by 80% and the species is today critically endangered.

Indomalay river turtles are complicated to propagate as both males and females tend to be aggressive towards each other during mating. Nordens Ark will therefore place great focus on the breeding work as it is of great importance to build up a stable population of the species if it is to be saved from extinction.

 Indomalayan river turtle. Photo: Petr Velensky

Despite the fact that the species is protected by law, it is still hunted extensively. Mainly for its meat but also to use parts of the turtles in traditional Asian medicine. The destruction of their habitats when forests are cleared and rivers are dammed, making way for palm oil plantations is also a major problem.