ProFauna International - Investigative report on illegal turtle egg trade leads to stronger support for legislation
In late 2010, HSI supported Indonesian project partners, ProFauna Indonesia, in conducting investigations into the illegal trade of turtle eggs occurring openly in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Indonesian legislation for Natural Resources and Ecosystems Conservation (Act 5, 1990) protects all of the six species of sea turtles found in Indonesian waters - the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), flatback turtle (Natator depressus) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). Trafficking perpetrators of protected species, including sea turtle eggs, are liable for imprisonment of five years and a fine of 100 million IDR (approx. 10,000 AUD). Nevertheless, the illegal market for sea turtle eggs is still heavily active.
As a significant amount of the illegal trade occurs in Kalimantan, ProFauna Indonesia sent teams to locations within the four provinces of Kalimantan to survey illegal trade activities, including sites where eggs were sold and harvested.
Findings from the report, Trade of Sea Turtle Eggs in Kalimantan, confirmed that the illegal trade of turtle eggs remains a lucrative market in Kalimantan. ProFauna estimates that within Samarinda (East Kalimantan) alone, there is an average of 1,000 turtle eggs sold per day, which equates to roughly 365,000 per year. Overall, the report estimated that approximately 100,000 turtle eggs are illegally traded in Kalimantan every month.
What this demonstrates is that Indonesia' s conservation efforts are at high risk if the illegal trade of turtle eggs continues. Among the 29 visited locations across Kalimantan, 62% harboured illegal turtle egg trading. There is also evidence that a large proportion of illegally harvested eggs are smuggled across the border to Malaysia, indicating that illegal trade crosses national boundaries. Worryingly, the report has further disclosed that the turtle eggs traded in Kalimantan not only come from this island but are supplied from several other locations. Of particular significance are suppliers who illegally harvest turtle eggs from the regional nature reserves of the Sembilan Islands in South Kalimantan.
This recent report now shows clearly that in order to secure the survival of Indonesia' s marine turtle populations, the illegal trade of turtle eggs in Kalimantan needs to be brought under control, particularly in areas of high trade activity such as the province of West Kalimantan.
The Trade of Sea Turtle Eggs in Kalimantan report has proven invaluable as ProFauna and HSI have successfully used it to lobby the Indonesian government for stricter law enforcement efforts. Having already shown commitment to ending the illegal trade of turtle eggs across Indonesia, the government recently invited ProFauna to take part in discussions on the matter in Jakarta. As a result, the government of Indonesia responded positively to ProFauna's report and HSI's correspondence about the illegal trade of sea turtle eggs in Kalimantan. They stated that they would take actions to stop the trade, and persist with meetings to discuss detailed action plans to tackle the illegal trade of sea turtle eggs in Kalimantan.
To read the Trade of Sea Turtle Eggs in Kalimantan report, click here.
To report is also available in a video format here.