Rote Island snake-necked turtle

Roti Island snake-necked turtle

When a species is on the brink of extinction, establishing a breeding for release programme can be a vital tool for recovery.  

Rote Island snake-necked turtles (Chelodina mccordi) are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and are at high risk of extinction. The subspecies found on Rote Island, Indonesia (Chelodina mccordi mccordi) has not been seen since 2009 despite intensive survey efforts.

Snake-necked turtles have long necks that move in a serpentine fashion. In fact, the neck of a snake-necked turtle is as long, if not longer, than its shell. Sadly, these freshwater turtles have declined due to habitat loss and demand from the exotic animal trade.

The last hope for these animals, led by our partners the Wildlife Conservation Society, is to re-establish a population on Rote Island by identifying suitable habitat and establishing a breeding centre.

Our RZSS WildGenes team is providing genetic testing of snake-necked turtles in European zoos and aquaria to determine if they originated from Rote Island and so could be included in the breeding programme in Indonesia. 

Our Partners

Project type

Conservation genetics icon

Conservation genetics

Conservation translocation icons

Conservation translocation

The team

Dr Alex Ball

Dr Alex Ball

Conservation programme manager (RZSS WildGenes)

Liz Heap

Liz Heap

Senior lab technician (RZSS WildGenes)

Dr Heather Ritchie-Parker

Dr Heather Ritchie-Parker

Research scientist (RZSS WildGenes)

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