TEMPO.CO, Kupang - Thirteen Rote Island Snake-necked turtles (Chelodina mccordi) have been returned to their original habitat in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) from Singapore. The animals will be released to its habitat in Lake Peto, Rote Ndao Regency.
"The 13 turtles will be kept in here for six months for adaptation before releasing them to Lake Peto," the head of NTT's Conservation of Natural Resources, Arief Mahmud, told reporters in Kupang, on Thursday, September 23.
The critically endangered turtles consist of six males and seven females. The wildlifes arrived in Kupang on Thursday from Singapore.
Arief said that many people catch and sell the turtles until they arrived in Singapore. The Environment and Forestry Ministry's directorate-general of Natural Resourcse Conservation and Ecosystem worked together with Wildlife Reserves Singapore to help return the Rote Island snake-necked turtles to its original habitat in NTT, so the population could be preserved.
He explained that Lake Peto is the original habitat for the Rote Island turtles, even though it is not included as a conservatory area. "NTT Governor had set the lake as an essential ecosystem area," Arif said, adding that the snake-necked turtle could become the icon of Rote Ndao Regency and NTT.