by Howard Goldstein 

joko

Aceh Tamiang, Sumatra, Indonesia, 11/13/2016 – Turtle Survival Alliance announced today that Joko Guntoro of Satucita Foundation has been honored with a Conservation Hero Award from the Disney Conservation Fund. The award recognizes local citizens for their commitment to reversing the decline of wildlife and engaging communities in conservation. Recipients from around the world were nominated by nonprofit environmental organizations, and each honoree and his or her nominating organization will share a $1,500 award from the fund.

Individuals like Joko do not cross our paths often, and when they do, we have a profound responsibility to recognize their talent and find ways to support them,” said TSA President Rick Hudson.

Joko is a self-taught turtle biologist working to conserve the critically endangered Painted Terrapin (Batagur borneoensis). Once fairly common in parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, populations of these large river turtles have been greatly reduced by collection for  Chinese markets, and from long-term egg harvest from well-known nesting beaches. Only a few viable populations remain in Malaysia and Aceh Province, Sumatra seems to be their stronghold in Indonesia. Since 2010, Joko has worked in Aceh Tamiang, Sumatra to provide a future for this species. Joko has organized nesting patrols, headstarting programs, releases, and community awareness programs, and has engaged over 5,500 people. The Satucita Foundation works closely with local communities, with programs that include nest patrols, restoration of critical Painted Terrapin habitat, and planting fruit-bearing food trees for terrapins along riverine areas. Joko’s Satucita Foundation has been honored with the Environmental Savior Award by the governor of Aceh Province, and Joko has presented a Painted Terrapin protection plan to the Aceh Tamiang House of Representatives which is currently pending approval.

The Disney Conservation Fund focuses on reversing the decline of wildlife and increasing the time kids spend in nature. Since 2004, Disney has honored more than 100 Conservation Heroes from around the world for their extraordinary conservation efforts.

For information on Disney’s commitment to conserve nature and a complete list of 2016 Conservation Hero Award recipients, visit Disney.com/Conservation