Forsten's Tortoise

A native Sulawesi tortoise

Get to know Forsten's Tortoise

This animal can only be found in Sulawesi (endemic) and its scientific name is Indotestudo Forstenii. The distribution of the Forsten's Tortoise covers Central Sulawesi, especially the dry hills in the Palu Valley.

Scientific knowledge about this species is lacking, even though its status is endangered.

The condition
Population numbers are not yet known, but this breed is already endangered due to hunting as a pet and export for foreign countries. The existence of Forsten's tortoise is very important for the natural ecosystem in Sulawesi.

Program in numbers

  • 2020

    Year started
  • 6

    Species found
  • 12

    Villages surveyed


  • 1
    Threat level assessments
  • 2
    Survey of population conditions
  • 3
    Capacity building
  • 4
    Outreach activities
A small introduction

What we do
(so far)


Threat level assessments

Because of its beautiful shell, this tortoise became a trade target. Usually irresponsible people want to buy it for consumption or as pets. To find out how big a threat is faced by the Forsten's Tortoise, we talked with the community. The information obtained is the basis for our design of a conservation program that will be in place.

A Forsten's Tortoise in captivity. It is by itself on the floor and covered by wooden walls.

Survey of population conditions

Although endangered, information about the condition of bantiluku populations in nature is unknown. In fact, this data is important to support the conservation of bantiluku. Therefore, as the first stage, we will conduct a survey of the bantiluku population in Palu Valley. Udi, Ahyar, and Zabur are the team that will lead the survey. To prepare the team, we held training by Billy G, a wildlife expert from North Sulawesi. Because of the COVID pandemic, we held it online. In addition to the Bantiluku team, the Poniki team was also present from Banggai.

Two team members of PROGRES during a survey of Forsten's Tortoise population. The in the jungle, carefully looking for the species.
The search begins!

The tortoise team, consisting of Udi, Zabur, and Ahyar, began surveying the area. We also invited younger members in the group of nature lovers and former hunters to help us in the search for the Forsten's Tortoise.

A selfie taken by a member of PROGRES during the survey. In the back is another team member. They are both standing in the middle of a field and carrying big backpacks.
The team led by Zabur

Carrying logistics for a few days of staying in the jungle, the team led by Zabur is tireless in search of the Forsten's Tortoise.

Palu Valley Exploration

The team explored the Palu valley, from the bottom of the valley to the tops of the hill in search of the Forsten's Tortoise.

This photo is taken on top of hill. Two team members are walking down it and in front of them you can see stretches of forest and a mountain.
Structured survey

Ahyar and the team always record encounters with bantiluku and survey location data.

During a break, a team member is sitting on the floor and making notes on the progress of the conservation activity so far.

Capacity building

Empowered youth are potential champions who will spearhead Forsten Tortoise conservation initiatives. We have trained local youth groups in and around Palu about  uniqueness of Sulawesi biodiversity, conservation principles, what is research, and methodology to survey tortoise.


Outreach activities

To nurture the sense of pride of having Forsten’s Tortoise among children, we have created a storybook (insert the link for education materials) and went from village to village under the extreme hot weather of Palu to do storytelling. About 234 kids have joined so far!

With their parents and teachers, in total of 268 people have joined our pride campaign.

Program supporters

These are the supporters of our conservations efforts for the Forsten's Tortoise. Click on their name to visit their website.

Current supporter

Stiftung Artenschutz

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