Press Release: ProFauna Urges the Government to Curb the Illegal Trade of Sea Turtle Shell Souvenirs in Bali

(02/26/2012) The illegal trade of sea turtle shell souvenirs happens openly in Tanjung Benoa, Bali. ProFauna's investigation in January 2012 uncovers dozens of souvenirs like bracelet, jewelry box, and cigarette pipe, which are made from the protected hawksbill turtle, were sold in Pulau Penyu (Sea Turtle Island) in Tanjung Benoa, Bali. The prices were 250,000 IDR for each bracelet, a cigarette pipe for 300,000 IDR, and a jewelry box for 1 million IDR.

Pulau Penyu in Tanjung Benoa is famous as a sea turtle tourism destination because hundreds of the marine animals are displayed for the tourists. The endangered species are used as photo-props for the tourist photos. Varied in sizes, the sea turtles species include the green turtles (Chelonia mydas), the Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), and the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate).

All sea turtle species in Indonesia are protected by the law meaning that the trade of the wildlife, either in alive condition or their body parts, is prohibited. According to the Wildlife Act Number 5 year 1990 concerning the Conservation of the Natural Resources and the Ecosystems, violators are liable to a maximum of five year prison term and a 100 million IDR fine.

The hundreds displayed sea turtles and the traded sea turtle shell souvenirs in Tanjung Benoa is ironic. It shows the lack of law enforcement by the authorities. Not to mention that the activities occur openly in such famous tourism destination like Pulau Penyu in Tanjung Benoa, Bali.

Wita Wahyudi, ProFauna Bali Representative, stated, "ProFauna urges the government to fully enforce the law on the trade of sea turtle shell souvenirs in Tanjung Benoa. The trade has given Bali a bad name as one of the main tourism destinations in Indonesia". ProFauna also encourages the government to curb the sea turtle release which are allegedly commercialized and rampantly conducted by many hotels in Bali to attract tourists because such activities are not pro-conservation and can lead to the illegal trade of sea turtles.

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