Global Wildlife Conservation::  Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group::  Turtle Survival Alliance::  Turtle Conservancy  ::  Chelonian Research Foundation::  European Assoc. Zoos & Aquaria

TCF Grants

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 2020
the TCF has awarded a total of over US $1.25 million to nearly 300 worthy turtle conservation projects.

For a listing of grants supported since 2003, please click here.


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 or the TFTSG Provisional Red List, as 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 Global Wildlife Conservation or Chelonian Research Foundation 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 (

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 2020 we have awarded about US $1.25 million to nearly 300 deserving turtle conservation projects.

Grant Application Deadlines: June 1 and December 1.
For detailed information and instructions on the Grant Application process, please click here.

For a listing of grants supported since 2003, please click here.

TCF Priority Species

The following species of tortoises and freshwater turtles have been prioritized by TCF to be considered for funding support.

Most Priority Species and subspecies listed here have been assessed as Critically Endangered (CR) by either the IUCN Red List or provisionally CR by the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. A few Priority Species listed here are assessed as Endangered (EN) by either the IUCN Red List or provisionally EN by the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.

Additionally, several species are considered Data Deficient (DD) by either the IUCN Red List or the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group provisional list, indicating their population status is unknown due to a lack of information (see list in the Appendix at the end). In order to gain a better understanding of their status, proposals regarding these are also solicited.

Further, other species not currently on either priority list can be considered, as long as a convincing rationale for support is provided.



      Dermatemys mawii  (Central American River Turtle) – Belize, Guatemala, Mexico


      Kinosternon angustipons (Narrrow-bridged Mud Turtle) – Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama

      Kinosternon hirtipes chapalaense  (Lake Chapala Mud Turtle) – Mexico

      Kinosternon hirtipes hirtipes  (Valley of Mexico Mud Turtle) – Mexico

      Kinosternon hirtipes magdalense  (San Juanico Mud Turtle) – Mexico

      Kinosternon hirtipes tarascense  (Pátzcuaro Mud Turtle) – Mexico

      Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale  (Sonoyta Mud Turtle) – Mexico, USA

      Kinosternon vogti (Vallarta Mud Turtle) – Mexico

      Sternotherus depressus  (Flattened Musk Turtle) – USA


      Glyptemys muhlenbergii  (Bog Turtle) – USA

      Terrapene coahuila  (Coahuilan Box Turtle) – Mexico

      Terrapene (carolina) yucatana (Yucatan Box Turtle) – Mexico


      Batagur affinis  (Southern River Terrapin) – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand

      Batagur baska  (Northern River Terrapin) – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

      Batagur borneoensis  (Painted Terrapin) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand

      Batagur dhongoka  (Three-striped Roofed Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal

      Batagur kachuga  (Red-crowned Roofed Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal

      Batagur trivittata  (Burmese Roofed Turtle) – Myanmar

      Cuora aurocapitata  (Yellow-headed Box Turtle) – China

      Cuora bourreti  (Bourret’s Box Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

      Cuora cyclornata (Vietnamese Three-striped Box Turtle) – Laos, Vietnam

      Cuora flavomarginata  (Yellow-margined Box Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan

      Cuora galbinifrons  (Indochinese Box Turtle) – China, Laos, Vietnam

      Cuora mccordi  (McCord’s Box Turtle) – China

      Cuora mouhotii (Keeled Box Turtle) – China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam

      Cuora pani  (Pan’s Box Turtle) – China

      Cuora picturata  (Southern Vietnam Box Turtle) – Vietnam

      Cuora trifasciata  (Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Golden Coin Turtle) – China, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam

      Cuora yunnanensis  (Yunnan Box Turtle) – China

      Cuora zhoui  (Zhou’s Box Turtle) – China, Vietnam

      Hardella thurjii (Crowned River Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan

      Heosemys annandalii (Yellow-headed Temple Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

      Heosemys depressa  (Arakan Forest Turtle) – Myanmar

      Leucocephalon yuwonoi  (Sulawesi Forest Turtle) – Indonesia

      Mauremys annamensis  (Annam Pond Turtle) – Vietnam

      Mauremys mutica (Yellow Pond Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam

      Mauremys nigricans  (Red-necked Pond Turtle) – China, Vietnam

      Melanochelys tricarinata  (Tricarinate Hill Turtle) – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

      Orlitia borneensis (Malaysian Giant Turtle) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia

      Sacalia bealei (Beal’s Eyed Turtle) – China, Hong Kong

      Siebenrockiella leytensis  (Philippine Forest Turtle) – Philippines


      Platysternon megacephalum (Big-headed Turtle) – Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam


      Astrochelys radiata  (Radiated Tortoise) – Madagascar

      Astrochelys yniphora  (Ploughshare Tortoise, Angonoka) – Madagascar

      Centrochelys sulcata (African Spurred Tortoise) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritera, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan

      Chelonoidis darwini  (Santiago Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galapagos)

      Chelonoidis donfaustoi  (Eastern Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)

      Chelonoidis guntheri  (Sierra Negra Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)

      Chelonoidis hoodensis  (Española Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)

      Chelonoidis porteri  (Western Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)

      Geochelone platynota  (Burmese Star Tortoise) – Myanmar

      Gopherus flavomarginatus  (Bolson Tortoise) – Mexico

      Indotestudo elongata  (Elongated Tortoise) – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (?), India, Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular), Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam

      Indotestudo forstenii (Sulawesi Tortoise) – Indonesia (Sulawesi)

      Kinixys homeana (Home’s Hinge-back Tortoise) – Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo

      Malacochersus tornieri (Pancake Tortoise) – Kenya, Tanzania

      Manouria emys (Asian Giant Tortoise) – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand

      Psammobates geometricus  (Geometric Tortoise) – South Africa

      Pyxis arachnoides  (Spider Tortoise) – Madagascar

      Pyxis planicauda  (Flat-tailed Tortoise) – Madagascar

      Testudo kleinmanni  (Egyptian Tortoise) – Egypt, Israel, Libya


      Apalone spinifera atra  (Cuatro Cienegas Softshell Turtle) – Mexico

      Chitra chitra  (Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand

      Chitra indica  (Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan

      Chitra vandijki  (Burmese Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Myanmar, Thailand

      Cyclanorbis elegans (Nubian Flapshell Turtle) – Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo

      Nilssonia formosa (Burmese Peacock Softshell Turtle) – China, Myanmar

      Nilssonia leithii  (Leith’s Softshell Turtle) – India

      Nilssonia nigricans  (Black Softshell Turtle, Bostami Softshell) – Bangladesh, India

      Pelochelys cantori  (Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

      Pelodiscus variegatus  (Vietnamese Softshell Turtle) – China, Vietnam

      Rafetus swinhoei (Red River Giant Softshell Turtle, Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle) – China, Vietnam


      Acanthochelys pallidipectoris (Chaco Side-necked Turtle) – Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay

      Chelodina kuchlingi (Kuchling’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Australia

      Chelodina mccordi mccordi  (Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia

      Chelodina mccordi timorensis  (Timor Snake-necked Turtle) – Timor-Leste

      Elusor macrurus  (Mary River Turtle) – Australia

      Mesoclemmys dahli  (Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle) – Colombia

      Mesoclemmys hogei  (Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle) – Brazil

      Myuchelys georgesi (Bellinger River Sawshelled Turtle) – Australia

      Pseudemydura umbrina  (Western Swamp Turtle) – Australia


      Pelomedusa barbata  (Arabian Helmeted Turtle) – Saudi Arabia, Yemen

      Pelusios castanoides intergularis  (Seychelles Yellow-bellied Mud Turtle)  – Seychelles

      Pelusios subniger parietalis  (Seychelles Black Mud Turtle) – Seychelles


      Erymnochelys madagascariensis  (Madagascan Big-headed Turtle) – Madagascar

      Podocnemis expansa  (Giant South American River Turtle, Giant Amazon River Turtle) – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela

      Podocnemis lewyana  (Magdalena River Turtle) – Colombia


The TCF notes that Gopherus agassizii (Mojave Desert Tortoise – USA) is provisionally assessed as Critically Endangered; however, the TCF is unlikely to fund applications for this species, and instead recommends that prospective applicants for projects concerning this species investigate potential grants available from the Desert Tortoise Council ( and other sources.


Species assessed as Data Deficient (DD) by the IUCN Red List
or provisionally DD by the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group


      Kinosternon abaxillare  (Central Chiapas Mud Turtle) – Mexico


      Emys trinacris  (Sicilian Pond Turtle) – Italy

      Terrapene nelsoni  (Spotted Box Turtle) – Mexico

      Trachemys grayi  (Western Meso-American Slider) – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama

      Trachemys nebulosa  (Baja California Slider) – Mexico

      Trachemys venusta  (Eastern Meso-American Slider) – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama


      Cyclemys enigmatica  (Enigmatic Leaf Turtle) – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand

      Rhinoclemmys annulata  (Brown Wood Turtle) – Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama


      Pelodiscus axenaria  (Hunan Softshell Turtle) – China

      Pelodiscus parviformis  (Lesser Chinese Softshell Turtle) – China

      Pelodiscus maackii  (Northern Chinese Softshell Turtle) – China, North Korea, Russia, Japan, South Korea


      Chelodina gunaleni  (Gunalen’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia

      Chelodina reimanni  (Reimann’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia, Papua New Guinea

      Elseya lavarackorum  (Riversleigh Snapping Turtle) – Australia

      Mesoclemmys heliostemma  (Yellow-crowned Toad-headed Turtle) – Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela

      Mesoclemmys nasuta  (Guyanan Toad-headed Turtle) – Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname


      Pelomedusa gehafie  (Eritrean Helmeted Turtle) – Eritrea, Sudan

      Pelomedusa kobe  (Tanzanian Helmeted Turtle) –Tanzania

      Pelomedusa neumanni  (Neumann’s Helmeted Turtle) – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania

      Pelomedusa olivacea  (Sahelian Helmeted Turtle) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,Guuinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

      Pelomedusa schweinfurthi  (Schweinfurth’s Helmeted Turtle) – Central African Republic, Congo (DRC), South Sudan

      Pelomedusa somalica  (Somalian Helmeted Turtle) – Ethiopia, Somalia

      Pelomedusa subrufa  (Helmeted Turtle) – Angola, Botswana, Congo (DRC), Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

      Pelomedusa variabilis  (West African Helmeted Turtle) – Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast

      Pelusios marani  (Gabon Mud Turtle) – Congo (ROC), Gabon

      Pelusios nanus  (African Dwarf Mud Turtle) – Angola, Congo (DRC), Zambia

      Pelusios upembae  (Upemba Mud Turtle) – Congo (DRC)



(Revised October 2020)