As one of its main functions, TCF administers a turtle conservation and research grants program. Awards are granted to organizations or individuals for specific conservation or research projects dealing with
highly endangered tortoises or freshwater turtles, but not marine turtles,
with either partial or full support as funding allows.
From 2003 through 2015
the TCF has awarded a total of about $925,000 to 210 worthy turtle conservation projects.
TCF Grant Program
Priority for funding is given to projects that focus on tortoises or freshwater turtles that are already highly threatened according to the IUCN Red List criteria, either Critically Endangered or Endangered, or which may be highly threatened but not yet officially classified as such on the Red List. We do not support work on marine turtles. TCF Awards are approximately in the $1000 to $5000 range per project (with full or partial funding depending on full project costs), and smaller seed grant projects are also encouraged (up to $1000 each) to support pilot conservation initiatives for tortoise and freshwater turtle species that are currently either IUCN Red Listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered (or on the TCF Priority Species list–see below), or species that may become priority species with an increase in the state of knowledge about the status of their populations or the threats they currently face (principally species currently classified on the Red List as Not Evaluated or Data Deficient).
Award recipients enter into contractual agreement with either Conservation International or Chelonian Research Foundation or Turtle Conservancy to produce the proposed work (these three non-profit organizations serve as TCF's financial umbrella organizations). Award recipients are also encouraged to publish at least partial results of the supported research in the international scientific turtle journal, Chelonian Conservation and Biology, published by Chelonian Research Foundation (www.chelonian.org).
The Born Losers trailer There are two funding cycles annually. Total disbursement has averaged between $20,000 to $50,000 per funding cycle, or $40,000 to $100,000 per year to date.
Since our first funding cycle in 2003 through August 2015 we have awarded about $925,000 to 210 deserving turtle conservation projects.
TCF Priority Species
The following species of tortoises and freshwater turtles have been prioritized by TCF to be considered for funding support. Other species will be considered only if a strong case can be made that they are potentially highly endangered. Species included are ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List or proposed as CR by recent IUCN and TFTSG Red Listing Workshops (see TTWG publication available at www.iucn-tftsg.org/checklist).
Listed exceptions (not CR) include Acanthochelys pallidipectoris (Chaco Side-necked Turtle), Chitra indica (Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle), Elusor macrurus (Mary River Turtle), Centrochelys sulcata (African Spurred Tortoise), Kinosternon angustipons (Narrow-bridged Mud Turtle),
Myuchelys georgesi (Bellinger River Sawshelled Turtle), Terrapene coahuila (Coahuilan Box Turtle), and Terrapene (carolina) yucatana (Yucatan Box Turtle).
In addition, the TCF recognizes that the conservation status of many turtle species, particularly those inhabiting Sub-Saharan Africa, is poorly known, and will consider applications for projects to improve our understanding of the survival prospects of these species, particularly Homopus solus (Nama Padloper), Kinixys erosa (Serrated Hinge-back Tortoise), and Pelusios broadleyi (Turkana Mud Turtle) during the 2014 funding cycles. Such projects should clearly describe why a particular species or region might warrant priority funding from the TCF.
1. Dermatemys mawii (Central American River Turtle) – Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
2. Kinosternon angustipons (Narrrow-bridged Mud Turtle) – Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama
3. Sternotherus depressus (Flattened Musk Turtle) – USA
4. Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) – USA
5. Terrapene coahuila (Coahuilan Box Turtle) – Mexico
6. Terrapene (carolina) yucatana (Yucatan Box Turtle) – Mexico
7. Batagur affinis (Southern River Terrapin) – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
8. Batagur baska (Northern River Terrapin) – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
9. Batagur borneoensis (Painted Terrapin) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
10. Batagur kachuga (Red-crowned Roofed Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal
11. Batagur trivittata (Burmese Roofed Turtle) – Myanmar
12. Cuora aurocapitata (Yellow-headed Box Turtle) – China
13. Cuora bourreti (Bourret’s Box Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
14. Cuora flavomarginata (Yellow-margined Box Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan
15. Cuora galbinifrons (Indochinese Box Turtle) – China, Laos, Vietnam
16. Cuora mccordi (McCord’s Box Turtle) – China
17. Cuora mouhotii (Keeled Box Turtle) – China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam
18. Cuora pani (Pan’s Box Turtle) – China
19. Cuora picturata (Southern Vietnam Box Turtle) – Vietnam
20. Cuora trifasciata (Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Golden Coin Turtle) – China, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam
21. Cuora yunnanensis (Yunnan Box Turtle) – China
22. Cuora zhoui (Zhou’s Box Turtle) – China, Vietnam
23. Heosemys annandalii (Yellow-headed Temple Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam
24. Heosemys depressa (Arakan Forest Turtle) – Myanmar
25. Leucocephalon yuwonoi (Sulawesi Forest Turtle) – Indonesia
26. Mauremys annamensis (Annam Pond Turtle) – Vietnam
27. Mauremys mutica (Yellow Pond Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam
28. Mauremys nigricans (Red-necked Pond Turtle) – China, Vietnam
29. Orlitia borneensis (Malaysian Giant Turtle) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia
30. Sacalia bealei (Beale’s Eyed Turtle) – China, Hong Kong
31. Siebenrockiella leytensis (Palawan Forest Turtle, Philippine Forest Turtle) – Philippines
32. Platysternon megacephalum (Big-headed Turtle) – Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam
33. Astrochelys radiata (Radiated Tortoise) – Madagascar
34. Astrochelys yniphora (Ploughshare Tortoise, Angonoka) – Madagascar
35. Centrochelys sulcata (African Spurred Tortoise) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritera, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan (only in-situ projects eligible)
36. Geochelone platynota (Burmese Star Tortoise) – Myanmar
37. Gopherus flavomarginatus (Bolson Tortoise) – Mexico
38. Kinixys homeana (Home’s Hinge-back Tortoise) – Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo
39. Malacochersus tornieri (Pancake Tortoise) – Kenya, Tanzania
40. Manouria emys (Asian Giant Tortoise) – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
41. Psammobates geometricus (Geometric Tortoise) – South Africa
42. Pyxis arachnoides (Spider Tortoise) – Madagascar
43. Pyxis planicauda (Flat-tailed Tortoise, Flat-shelled Spider Tortoise) – Madagascar
44. Testudo kleinmanni (Egyptian Tortoise) – Egypt, Israel, Libya
45. Apalone spinifera atra (Black Spiny Softshell Turtle, Cuatro Cienegas Softshell Turtle) – Mexico
46. Chitra chitra (Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
47. Chitra indica (Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan
48. Chitra vandijki (Burmese Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Myanmar, Thailand
49. Cyclanorbis elegans (Nubian Flapshell Turtle) – Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo
50. Nilssonia formosa (Burmese Peacock Softshell Turtle) – China, Myanmar
51. Nilssonia leithii (Leith’s Softshell Turtle) – India
52. Nilssonia nigricans (Black Softshell Turtle, Bostami Softshell) – Bangladesh, India
53. Pelochelys cantorii (Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
54. Rafetus swinhoei (Red River Giant Softshell Turtle, Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle, Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle) – China, Vietnam
55. Acanthochelys pallidipectoris (Chaco Side-necked Turtle) – Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay
56. Chelodina mccordi (Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia, Timor-Leste
57. Elusor macrurus (Mary River Turtle) – Australia
58. Mesoclemmys hogei (Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle) – Brazil
59. Myuchelys georgesi (Bellinger River Sawshelled Turtle) – Australia
60. Pseudemydura umbrina (Western Swamp Turtle) – Australia
61. Erymnochelys madagascariensis (Madagascan Big-headed Turtle) – Madagascar
62. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle, Giant Amazon River Turtle, Arrau) – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela
63. Podocnemis lewyana (Magdalena River Turtle) – Colombia
The TCF is aware that Gopherus agassizii (Mojave Desert Tortoise – USA) is proposed for IUCN assessment as Critically Endangered; however, the TCF is unlikely to fund applications for Desert Tortoise work, and recommends that prospective applicants for projects concerning this species check into grants available from the Desert Tortoise Council [http://deserttortoise.org] and other sources.
(Prepared September 2008, revised February 2011, March 2011, August 2012, March 2014, August 2015)