European pond turtle species protection project

  • Seit 2007 hilft der Tiergarten der Europäischen Sumpfschildkröte.
Zoo support since:2007
Conservation status on the Red List Austria:Critically Endangered
Location of conservation project:Austria

The European pond turtle needs our help!
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The European pond turtle is Austria’s only native turtle species. Up until the 18th century this water turtle inhabited riverine landscapes throughout Europe. In earlier times, it was mainly threatened through targeted hunting and consumption, as it was considered a popular fasting dish. Today, the main threat is habitat destruction. European pond turtle populations continue to decline dramatically throughout Europe.


There is only one intact, naturally reproducing population left in all of Austria, located in the Donau-Auen National Park. Here, the turtles find suitable riverine systems as well as necessary dry areas to lay their eggs. Schönbrunn Zoo has been supporting the national park's species conservation project for quite some time now. The project focuses on protecting turtle clutches from predators such as foxes, martens and badgers. Immediately after the eggs are laid, the nests are covered with metal grids. The hatchlings can easily climb through the grid openings and make their way to the water after hatching.

Sometimes additional support is needed. The zoo transports and incubates damaged or poorly placed clutches, for example from visitor parking lots. In spring the hatchlings are returned to the Danube backwaters. When required, the zoo also treats injured animals. Furthermore, our visitors are given the unique opportunity to see pond turtles, which in turn aids in raising awareness for this endangered species.


The species protection project is the vehicle for studying and preserving this species.

This is how Schönbrunn Zoo is supporting the project:

  • financial support through the administration of turtle clutch-sponsorships
  • PR work
  • incubation of unfavorably located or damaged clutches as well as medical treatment of injured pond turtles when needed

How can you help?

You can sponsor your very own clutch of turtle eggs! Your financial contribution will directly support the protection of the European pond turtle in the Donau-Auen National Park. As a thank you, you will receive a certificate with the clutch number, regular updates about the clutch as well as a free guided tour to the pond turtles in the Donau-Auen National Park.
Become a turtle protector now!

What our partners say:

Maria-Schindler, project leader: "We were able to determine that the period of egg maturation is a bottleneck for the development of our turtle population in the national park. Through our measures, we are successfully protecting the clutches until the hatchlings have left the nests. We also check hatched clutches and mark adult turtles - all of which takes a lot of effort. Therefore, we are very grateful for the support of the zoo, especially in the area of public relations."