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 2018
the TCF has awarded a total of about US $1,100,000 to 250 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 2018 we have awarded about US $1,088,000 to 250 deserving turtle conservation projects.
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. 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 the TFTSG (see TTWG publication available at, or considered Data Deficient (DD). A few included species are considered Endangered or Vulnerable.


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



  1. Kinosternon angustipons (Narrrow-bridged Mud Turtle) – Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama
  2. Kinosternon hirtipes chapalaense  (Lake Chapala Mud Turtle) – Mexico
  3. Kinosternon hirtipes hirtipes  (Valley of Mexico Mud Turtle) – Mexico
  4. Kinosternon hirtipes magdalense  (San Juanico Mud Turtle) – Mexico
  5. Kinosternon hirtipes tarascense  (Pátzcuaro Mud Turtle) – Mexico
  6. Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale  (Sonoyta Mud Turtle) – Mexico, USA
  7. Kinosternon vogti (Vallarta Mud Turtle) – Mexico
  8. Sternotherus depressus  (Flattened Musk Turtle) – USA



  1. Glyptemys muhlenbergii  (Bog Turtle) – USA
  2. Terrapene coahuila  (Coahuilan Box Turtle) – Mexico
  3. Terrapene (carolina) yucatana (Yucatan Box Turtle) – Mexico



  1. Batagur affinis  (Southern River Terrapin) – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
  2. Batagur baska  (Northern River Terrapin) – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
  3. Batagur borneoensis  (Painted Terrapin) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
  4. Batagur dhongoka  (Three-striped Roofed Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal
  5. Batagur kachuga  (Red-crowned Roofed Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal
  6. Batagur trivittata  (Burmese Roofed Turtle) – Myanmar
  7. Cuora aurocapitata  (Yellow-headed Box Turtle) – China
  8. Cuora bourreti  (Bourret’s Box Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
  9. Cuora cyclornata (Vietnamese Three-striped Box Turtle) – Laos, Vietnam
  10. Cuora flavomarginata  (Yellow-margined Box Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan
  11. Cuora galbinifrons  (Indochinese Box Turtle) – China, Laos, Vietnam
  12. Cuora mccordi  (McCord’s Box Turtle) – China
  13. Cuora mouhotii (Keeled Box Turtle) – China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam
  14. Cuora pani  (Pan’s Box Turtle) – China
  15. Cuora picturata  (Southern Vietnam Box Turtle) – Vietnam
  16. Cuora trifasciata  (Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Golden Coin Turtle) – China, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam
  17. Cuora yunnanensis  (Yunnan Box Turtle) – China
  18. Cuora zhoui  (Zhou’s Box Turtle) – China, Vietnam
  19. Heosemys annandalii (Yellow-headed Temple Turtle) – Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam
  20. Heosemys depressa  (Arakan Forest Turtle) – Myanmar
  21. Leucocephalon yuwonoi  (Sulawesi Forest Turtle) – Indonesia
  22. Mauremys annamensis  (Annam Pond Turtle) – Vietnam
  23. Mauremys mutica (Yellow Pond Turtle) – China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam
  24. Mauremys nigricans  (Red-necked Pond Turtle) – China, Vietnam
  25. Melanochelys tricarinata  (Tricarinate Hill Turtle) – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal
  26. Orlitia borneensis (Malaysian Giant Turtle) – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia
  27. Sacalia bealei (Beal’s Eyed Turtle) – China, Hong Kong
  28. Siebenrockiella leytensis  (Philippine Forest Turtle) – Philippines



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



  1. Astrochelys radiata  (Radiated Tortoise) – Madagascar
  2. Astrochelys yniphora  (Ploughshare Tortoise, Angonoka) – Madagascar
  3. Centrochelys sulcata (African Spurred Tortoise – only in-situ projects eligible) – Benin, Burkina Faso, CAR, Chad, Eritera, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan
  4. Chelonoidis darwini  (Santiago Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galapagos)
  5. Chelonoidis donfaustoi  (Eastern Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)
  6. Chelonoidis guntheri  (Sierra Negra Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)
  7. Chelonoidis hoodensis  (Española Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)
  8. Chelonoidis porteri  (Western Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise) – Ecuador (Galápagos)
  9. Geochelone platynota  (Burmese Star Tortoise) – Myanmar
  10. Gopherus flavomarginatus  (Bolson Tortoise) – Mexico
  11. Indotestudo elongata  (Elongated Tortoise) – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (?), India, Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular), Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam
  12. Kinixys homeana (Home’s Hinge-back Tortoise) – Cameroon, Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo
  13. Malacochersus tornieri (Pancake Tortoise) – Kenya, Tanzania
  14. Manouria emys (Asian Giant Tortoise) – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
  15. Psammobates geometricus  (Geometric Tortoise) – South Africa
  16. Pyxis arachnoides  (Spider Tortoise) – Madagascar
  17. Pyxis planicauda  (Flat-tailed Tortoise, Flat-shelled Spider Tortoise) – Madagascar
  18. Testudo kleinmanni  (Egyptian Tortoise) – Egypt, Israel, Libya



  1. Apalone spinifera atra  (Black Spiny Softshell Turtle, Cuatro Cienegas Softshell Turtle) – Mexico
  2. Chitra chitra  (Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
  3. Chitra indica  (Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan
  4. Chitra vandijki  (Burmese Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle) – Myanmar, Thailand
  5. Cyclanorbis elegans (Nubian Flapshell Turtle) – Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo
  6. Nilssonia formosa (Burmese Peacock Softshell Turtle) – China, Myanmar,
  7. Nilssonia leithii  (Leith’s Softshell Turtle) – India
  8. Nilssonia nigricans  (Black Softshell Turtle, Bostami Softshell) – Bangladesh, India
  9. Pelochelys cantori  (Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle) – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
  10.  Pelodiscus parviformis  (Vietnamese Softshell Turtle) – China, Vietnam
  11. Rafetus swinhoei (Red River Giant Softshell Turtle, Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle, Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle) – China, Vietnam



  1. Acanthochelys pallidipectoris (Chaco Side-necked Turtle) – Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay
  2. Chelodina mccordi  (Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia, Timor-Leste
  3. Elusor macrurus  (Mary River Turtle) – Australia
  4. Mesoclemmys dahli  (Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle) – Colombia
  5. Mesoclemmys hogei  (Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle) – Brazil
  6. Myuchelys georgesi (Bellinger River Sawshelled Turtle) – Australia
  7. Pseudemydura umbrina  (Western Swamp Turtle) – Australia



  1. Pelusios castanoides intergularis  (Seychelles Yellow-bellied Mud Turtle) – Species LC – Seychelles
  2. Pelusios subniger parietalis  (Seychelles Black Mud Turtle) – Species LC – Seychelles



  1. Erymnochelys madagascariensis  (Madagascan Big-headed Turtle) – Madagascar
  2. Podocnemis expansa  (Giant South American River Turtle, Giant Amazon River Turtle, Arrau) – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela
  3. Podocnemis lewyana  (Magdalena River Turtle) – Colombia


The TCF is aware that Gopherus agassizii (Mojave Desert Tortoise – USA) is provisionally assessed 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 [] and other sources.



Appendix I


Species provisionally listed by the IUCN tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group as Data Deficient (DD).



  1.  Kinosternon abaxillare  (Central Chiapas Mud Turtle) – Mexico



  1. Emys trinacris  (Sicilian Pond Turtle) – Italy
  2. Terrapene nelsoni  (Spotted Box Turtle) – Mexico
  3. Trachemys grayi  (Western Meso-American Slider) – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
  4. Trachemys nebulosa  (Baja California Slider) – Mexico
  5. Trachemys venusta  (Eastern Meso-American Slider) – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama



  1. Cyclemys enigmatica  (Enigmatic Leaf Turtle) – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand
  2. Rhinoclemmys annulata  (Brown Wood Turtle) – Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama



  1. Pelodiscus axenaria  (Hunan Softshell Turtle) – China
  2. Pelodiscus maackii  (Northern Chinese Softshell Turtle) – China, North Korea, Russia, Japan, South Korea



  1. Chelodina gunaleni  (Gunalen’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia
  2. Chelodina (Macrochelodina) kuchlingi  (Kuchling’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Australia
  3. Chelodina reimanni  (Reimann’s Snake-necked Turtle) – Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
  4. Elseya (Pelocomastes) lavarackorum  (Riversleigh Snapping Turtle) – Australia
  5. Mesoclemmys heliostemma  (Yellow-crowned Toad-headed Turtle) – Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
  6. Mesoclemmys nasuta  (Guyanan Toad-headed Turtle) – Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname



  1. Pelomedusa gehafie  (Eritrean Helmeted Turtle) – Eritrea, Sudan
  2. Pelomedusa kobe  (Tanzanian Helmeted Turtle) –Tanzania
  3. Pelomedusa neumanni  (Neumann’s Helmeted Turtle) – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania
  4. Pelomedusa olivacea  (Sahelian Helmeted Turtle) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,Guuinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
  5. Pelomedusa schweinfurthi  (Schweinfurth’s Helmeted Turtle) – Central African Republic, Congo (DRC), South Sudan
  6. Pelomedusa somalica  (Somalian Helmeted Turtle) – Ethiopia, Somalia
  7. Pelomedusa subrufa  (Helmeted Turtle) – Angola, Botswana, Congo (DRC), Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  8. Pelomedusa variabilis  (West African Helmeted Turtle) – Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast
  9. Pelusios marani  (Gabon Mud Turtle) – Congo (ROC), Gabon
  10. Pelusios nanus  (African Dwarf Mud Turtle) – Angola, Congo (DRC), Zambia
  11. Pelusios upembae  (Upemba Mud Turtle) – Congo (DRC)



(Prepared September 2008, revised February 2011, March 2011, August 2012, March 2014, August 2015, October 2018)