Bali Police Seize 33 Endangered Turtles
Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. Marine police in Bali have seized 33 endangered sea turtles in Denpasar, believed to have been poached to be sold to restaurants, a police spokesman said on Monday.
Bali police spokesman Sr. Comr. Hariadi said they found the green sea and hawksbill turtles on board a ship at Tanjung Benoa beach at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Hariadi said there was no one else on board.
“They are believed to have been studying the location well so that they could escape the monitoring of officials,” he said, adding that they were still looking for the boat’s owner and crew.
Soemarsono, the head of the Denpasar Nature Conservancy Office (BKSDA), said that some of the turtles were suffering from dehydration and estimated their selling price at between Rp 5 million ($519) to 7 million per animal.
The BKSDA office is planning to send the turtles, which are endangered and protected species, to the Serangan Turtle Conservation.
“We will treat them first and after they are well, we will release them,” Soemarsono said.
He said that Bali continued to be a profitable smuggling destination because of the continuing high demand for turtle meat, including for Hindu rituals, despite the official prohibition.
The last turtle haul was in October when 16 hawksbills were rescued from a ship. There have been at least five turtle smuggling attempts in Bali this year.