The Burmese peacock softshell turtle, one of the most endangered freshwater turtle species on Earth, has been given a fighting chance thanks to conservation efforts. The Flora and Fauna International (FFI) launched a successful breeding program in the Indawgyi Lake region of Myanmar, where the turtles are native.

In 2022, FFI, along with local volunteers and knowledge keepers, patrolled the lake’s shores for potential nesting sites. They discovered five sites that were then protected by fencing. Local ‘turtle guardians’ were trained by FFI to monitor these areas closely.

  • During this monitoring process, 15 hatchlings were born in captivity – the first known occurrence of such an event in the wild!
  • The Burmese peacock softshell turtles are distinguished by their bright orange spots that resemble peacock feathers.
  • Despite being considered a delicacy in Myanmar, they’ve been excessively hunted due to poverty-stricken conditions across much of the country.

This significant birth of 15 new turtles is seen as a step towards preserving this species for future generations. Indawgyi Lake, home to 160 endemic birds as well as fish, primates, mammals, and more, is a crucial part of Myanmar’s ecosystem. Thanks to FFI’s efforts, it was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2017, further protecting its rich biodiversity from human activity or destruction.

It is hoped that with continued dedication from locals and conservation groups like FFI, more will be done to ensure the survival of this incredible species into the future.