Sea Turtle Slaughter Still Going Strong in Derawan

Aside from sea turtle eggs poaching, slaughter of Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) for its meat still takes place is Derawan Island, Berau, East Borneo. The fact came into sight when Protection of Forest & Fauna (PROFAUNA) Borneo and the Marine Affairs & Fisheries Service of Berau conducted a field inspection on 29 March 2016.

The inspection was a follow up upon an initial finding by officials from the Environmental Agency, consisting of eight sea turtle eggs, traces of blood, a knife, and slippers. The blood apparently was of a Green Turtle. There was a strong indication that there had been a slaughter, and the felons fled the scene when they saw the officials.

The discovery has been reported to the Marine Affairs & Fisheries Service of Berau, who immediately checked to the crime scene. Later on that day, officials from the Service coordinated with related agencies to find the rest of the turtle's body parts.

"The eggs and flesh we found prove our conjecture that sea turtle poaching still occurs in Derawan," said Bayu Sandi, the coordinator of PROFAUNA Borneo.

Highly alarmed by this latest news, PROFAUNA Borneo and a group called Duta Bahari (Ocean Ambassador) decided to have a sweeping along the shoreline of Derawan Island on the next day. They found tens of sea turtle eggs succumbed underwater, and they suspected that those eggs were scattered during the poacher's escape.

Based on PROFAUNA's monitoring data, demand of sea turtle meat reaches its peak during the Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Chinese New Year. Some residents of Berau consume sea turtle meat as a companion of alcohol or for proper meal to celebrate holidays.

The marine areas in Berau is known to be the largest habitat of the Green Turtle in Indonesia, ranked number eight in the world. It is such a shame that poaching still takes place here.

During the Marine Biodiversity Conservation Forum earlier in March 2016, the Mayor of Berau, H. Muharram, expected all parties to work hard in preserving the biodiversity of Berau.

"We hope that PROFAUNA could help in mapping the violations of sea turtle conservation efforts in Berau," H. Muharram concluded. 

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats