Conservation teams and the Indonesian Navy in Bali have successfully released endangered turtles back into the ocean after intercepting a wildlife trafficking operation last week. The news of the successful reintroduction of the turtles comes as a cause for celebration for ocean lovers.
An investigation remains underway to find the two men who are believed to be behind the illegal trafficking. When the authorities seized possession of the boat carrying the green turtles, the poachers were nowhere to be seen.
The raid on the boat was carried out by more than thirty officers from the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) for Bali, the Navy, and conservationists and wildlife specialists from the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) on the 12th of January. Upon taking control of the wooden boat that was floating just off the shore of Klatakan Beach, officials discovered 43 turtles with their feet bound all stacked up on the boat.
Speaking shortly after the bust, Pak Sumarsono from BKSDA Bali told reporters, “When we arrived at the boat, both of them were missing, they escaped. We had to decide whether to concentrate on the turtles or arrest the two people. So we decided to save the 43 sea turtles and let (the suspects) go for a while.”
The co-founder of JAAN Femke den Haas told reporters that the way the turtles had been bound up on the boat was ‘horrific’. Thankfully, however, despite their ordeal, thirty-four of the turtles were in good enough health to be released the following day. Nine more were taken to veterinary facilities for further treatment.
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Speaking once again to reporters on Thursday, 19th January, Pak Sumarsono was able to confirm that eight more of the endangered turtles had been released into the ocean in Buleleng Regency. He said, “Earlier, eight of them were released and have been declared healthy. While one is still being treated because it is still sick, there is a tumor on the back of the head near the nape.”
The final turtle will remain at the rescue facility while it waits for an operation to remove the tumor. Veterinary and conservation teams are investigating the best way to remove the tumor and deliver aftercare for the turtle. Pak Sumarsono said, “We are also still considering whether we might die after the operation. Because we have never handled it before”.
“We have handled cases of turtles eating plastic, then we operated on removing the plastic, and it was safe”. Sumarsono continued, “We are still observing; the operation is waiting for conditions to allow. When he is healthy, he will be released again soon.”
Regarding the 41 turtles already released back into the wild, Pak Sumarsono said that they had each passed all the relevant veterinary checks, and he sees no reason why they should not thrive in the wild again.
He added, “We make sure there is no plastic in the stomachs of the turtles. We have x-rayed everything and cleaned it. There is one that already contains eggs and has been released. Later it will return to laying eggs in the first place where it hatched its eggs.”
Speaking after the release, Commander of the Denpasar Naval Base Marine Colonel, I Dewa Nyoman Gede Rake Susilo, said that he and his teams take wildlife trafficking very seriously. He confirmed that an investigation is underway to catch the two poachers and anyone else connected to wildlife trafficking in Bali.
He said, “Regarding the evidence of money being secured, later, there will be efforts from us to reveal the owner of the evidence. In the future, the Indonesian Navy will continue to carry out operations at sea to protect against all illegal maritime activities. We continue to work together with stakeholders in the framework of securing and protecting wild animals and urge the public to continue to preserve wild plants and animals together.”
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Tuesday 24th of January 2023
Should be hard punished for such kidnapping.
Monday 23rd of January 2023
Great news. Looks like the turtles get better medical care than most Indonesian can only dream of.
Four months ago an Indonesian Navy ship was caught smuggling wildlife from Papua. More than 30 wild birds found onboard KRI Teluk Lada-521 sailing from Sorong to Surabaya. Ref. WestPapuaStory. So obviously the Indonesian Navy is now trying to improve their image...
My question: Why are poachers and more important the masterminds not rounded up? Oh wait...