Thu, May 20, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science

Indonesian police seize 71 green turtles

2010-05-20 07:02:06 GMT2010-05-20 15:02:06 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Photograph taken on February 2010 shows a rare baby green turtle crawling to the sea at Sukamade beach, part of Indonesia's Meru Betiri National Parkin East Java. Indonesian police said Wednesday they had rescued 71 endangered green sea turtles after a raid on a warehouse on the holiday island of Bali(AFP/File/Ahman Rahman)

A worker holds a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) after unloading it from a truck in Denpasar, capital city of the province of Bali, May 19, 2010. Policesaid on Tuesday they foiled an attempt to smuggle 71 green turtles for food. The turtles, caught in the waters off Sulawesi Island, have an average weight of 100 kilograms (220 pounds).(REUTERS/Murdani Usman)

A plainclothes policeman (C) stands guard as workers load a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) onto a truck in Denpasar, capital city of the province of Bali,May 19, 2010. Police said on Tuesday they foiled an attempt to smuggle 71 green turtles for food. The turtles, caught in the waters off Sulawesi Island, have an average weight of 100 kilograms (220 pounds).(REUTERS/Murdani Usman)

Giant sea turtles are sprayed with water after they were seized from poachers, at Bali's police headquarters in Denpasar, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 19,2010. Balinese police seized a total of seventy illegal sea turtles.(AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Indonesian police said Wednesday they had rescued 71 endangered green sea turtles after a raid on a warehouse on the holiday island of Bali.

The animals were alive but with their flippers tied with rope after police investigated suspicious activity by the 55-year-old warehouse owner, senior detective Andi Rahmantiro told AFP.

The turtles were probably destined for local food markets, he added.

"We have been eyeing the area for a while but we needed stronger evidence. Yesterday our officers raided the location because the information was certain," Rahmantiro said.

"The suspect confessed to planning to sell the turtles for 700,000 rupiah (77 dollars) each. On the market they can actually reach about two to four million rupiah each."

An estimated 100,000 green sea turtles are killed in the Indo-Australian archipelago each year, mostly for their meat, according to environmental group WWF.

Turtle meat is a traditional part of the Balinese diet but consumption has fallen since its peak in the 1970s thanks to greater awareness of the species and its importance to the local tourism industry.

Rahmantiro said the rescued turtles, most of which were more than 10 years old, would be released back into the sea.

The warehouse owner faces up to five years in jail for violating conservation laws.

(Agencies)

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