Turtle Smuggling Increasingly Organised: NGO

SANUR

Animal-protection groups are facing increased challenges in their attempts to prevent the smuggling of turtles and turtle meat into Bali, as smugglers become more organised, an NGO has said.

Turtle meat is used for traditional sate in Bali.

Rosek Nursahid, chairman of ProFauna Indonesia, said this week that while in the past turtle meat was brought into Bali in a haphazard fashion, a smaller, more organised group of smugglers was now responsible.

“Actually now they are a much smaller and more closed group, and turtles are not usually smuggled into Bali whole now, but already butchered and hidden under shipments of fish,” he said.

Nursahid said that around 1,000 turtles had been recorded being smuggled into Bali in the last two years.  Most are caught in Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara, he said.

Nursahid said that Bali was also a major destination for the meat of protected species of primate, especially the Java langur, which is used in as a traditional cure for various illnesses.

“According to the information we have, people use its meat as a cure for diseases such as asthma.  The other information we have is that it’s a popular meat to eat with people who like to drink alcohol,” he said, adding that around 20 butchered langurs were believed to be being shipped into Bali from East Java every month.

The wider illegal trade in Indonesian primates is particularly well organised, Nursahid said, with many live animals being shipped out of the country for collectors and for traditional medicine.  Most were shipped first to Malaysia, and then transported onwards from there.

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