EAZA Ex situ Programme (EEP)

European pond turtle

(Emys orbicularis)

Coordinator:  Anthony Kohler
Institution:    Parc Animalier de Sainte-Croix

→ EAZA Member Area

Parc Animalier de Sainte Croix



IUCN Red List status

IUCN Red List NT



Programme roles

Direct Conservation icon Source
Source for projects that aim to re-establish the species in parts of its former range from which it has been extirpated, or to reinforce remaining populations. This role implies providing disease-free, behaviourally competent and genetically suitable individuals for release into the wild. Of course, it must be ensured that any reintroductions are done according to the IUCN Reintroduction Guidelines and that releases should not cause hybridisation in the wild.

Insurance population
This role contemplates the possibility to maintain a long-term ex situ population to preserve options for the future. The EEP population is managed to provide individuals for reinforcement of remaining populations (demographically and/or genetically) or to create new populations.

There is need for conducting ex situ research and supporting in situ research, with a focus on certain aspects of the biology that can help reintroduction and conservation projects.

Conservation education
Education with focus on raising awareness on turtle conservation is important in range countries. People need to be informed about the threat of releasing exotic species for the autochthonous fauna.

• Fundraising
Zoos can raise funds for supporting in situ conservation and research in situ.
Indirect Conservation icon Rescue
Zoos play a role in the rescue of confiscated and abandoned animals. This has not only a welfare and educational role, but selected animals can contribute to the gene pool of the breeding population.

Programme numbers

In December 2020, the European pond turtle EEP had 1555 animals (including group counts) in 73 institutions. 

Programme highlights

  • Issue 107 of Zooquaria is dedicated to chelonians and the ongoing crisis. An article about plans to support the European pond turtle can be found on page 18. 
  • EAZA Member Mulhouse Zoo (France) has published a video showing how European pond turtles are reintroduced into the wild.
  • EAZA published the 2021 Annual TAG Report

Best Practise Guidelines


LIFE logo with white paddingThis work is supported by the European Union LIFE NGO funding programme. The European Union is not responsible for the views displayed in publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used.