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SOS-Seaturtles Campaign to Stop the killing and trade on Bali, Indonesia
By Jason Heller, June 20, 2007 @ 02:00 AM (EST)

The slaugther of Seaturtles in Bali

The Island of Bali in Indonesia has been the hub of the sea turtle trade for two decades. The buyers of turtle meat, shells and eggs are mainly found in the Asian markets as well as in Indonesia itself. Turtle meat and eggs are not going to feed the poor, instead they are a privilege of affluent societies. Turtle shell is being used for jewellery and ornaments for tourists, all unnecessary objects, for which hundreds of thousands of turtles have to lose their lives.

All eight species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction and therefore strictly protected by CITES, the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. Nevertheless, the number of animals - who have inhabited our oceans for over 150 million years - is constantly declining. Until four years ago, in Bali alone, an average of 25,000 sea turtles a year were brutally cut out of their shells alive! As a result of several action and campaigns by the Indonesian ProFauna and SOS-Seaturtles this number has dropped to around 3000 a year.

However, in view of sea turtles being threatened with extinction, every single life is important in order to preserve the population.  The killing of sea turtles in Indonesia is more than just a national problem: For decades, the sea turtles from Bali's waters, which would have supplied the market no longer exist. The animals being killed in Bali are caught all around Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, Sipadan and North Australia. After months of transportation, with their front legs pierced and tied up, lying on top of each other in the hull, with neither food nor water, they finally end up in Bali. Herded together in cages, they wait for their horrifying end. Depending on the orders, the turtles are killed, for the national or the international market. The brutality of the killing is unimaginable: With a sharp knife, they separate the lower tortoiseshell from the upper one (the animal is still alive!). Then, they slowly disembowel the turtle without paying any attention to the unbelievable pain of the tortured animal. The agony can last up to half an hour; a total horror, when you consider that sea turtles have a highly developed nervous system – but they are unable to cry… 

The new Campaign

The objective of the new campaign is similar to the previous actions – and it works ! With letters of protests, signatures and statements, we want the relevant authorities of Bali and Indonesia to be aware that people from all over the world will again focus on Bali`s Seaturtles and call upon the government to stop it now forever. At the moment, Indonesia and Bali are both struggling for every single tourist. Tourism is very important for their economies, and anything that may harm their image is subsequently taken seriously. We can therefore be sure of obtaining the full attention of the authorities, although we intend to use more pressure and less diplomacy this time. This are the necessary footsteps which allows the PROFAUNA members to put pressure an officials and police for undertaking actions against the turtle Mafia in Tanjung-Benoa. 

A so called “Turtleweek” in Bali/ Denpasar with Manifestations, Media Conferences, Journalists, TV-Teams from Europe and representatives of Touroperators, is planed in April 2007.

Everyone can help

 

We have chosen a new, more up-to-date means of communication to broadcast the present campaign and to transmit the signatures, statements and letters of protest. With the internet replacing the former brochures and petition sheets, everything can be done online! Everyone in the world will be able to get instant information about the the Seaturtles campaign through one mouse click on: www.sos.seaturtles.ch , sign petitions and e-mail pre-printed statements straight to the relevant government organizations. We are convinced that using this means of communication, we will reach far more people and therefore get more signatures, more statements.  

Latest news from Bali

The new campaign was launched  in March 2006. Numerous Hardcover and online Magazines have published about the new campaign and our logo with direct links to: www.sos-seaturtles.ch  show up on the homepages of diving manufacturers and enterprises which are related to the ocean. 

Until now the Governor of Bali has received more as 6400 Letters of protest and statements from all around the world. As a result of its, the Indonesian Organisation ProFauna which is supported by SOS-Seaturtles can put more pressure on Officials and Police.  Since springtime several actions happens in Tanjung Benoa, the capital of turtle trade. Here you find more Details and pictures about : http://www.sos-seaturtles.ch/newsseite_english+.htm   

The scope of the year

A “big fish” was hooked in October, by the Bali Police! Thanks to a hint of a investigator, ProFauna activists and Bali Police did confiscate a boat carrying more  as 170 Green Turtles ( Chelonia Midas. The Turtles were harvesting in Sulawesi and on the way to Tanjung Benoa to be killed and traded. The boat was but on chains and kept in Benoa Port for further examination. The crew arrested.

The Chief of the Bali Office Department, Irjen Pol. Drs. Soenarko Danu Ardanto who attended the seize personally, give orders instructed to save the turtles by releasing them back to the wild..  The turtles were measured and tagged by BKSDA Bali (Forestry Dept.). 3 turtles died during the smuggling trial. Next day the Turtles were released  in Kuta-Beach under control of  officials from the Police and Coast card and  with the help of  Kuta Villagers, ProFauna members, BKSDA Bali and numerous Tourists who was enthusiastic to tale part!

The release attract hundreds of  people and the ProFauna members took the chance for am Manifestation, informing the People about the Turtle Slaughter and the illegal trade still continuous in Tanjung Benoa.  Usually Protest against the Turtle Mafia were always heavily disturbed by traders and Turtle catchers, but this time nothing happens ! It s to say that the ProFauna Organisation becoming stronger and stronger and more and more recognized  ! 

All what happens since we start the Campaign,  proofs that our policy works ! …………says Kurt Amsler,  Founder and Force behind SOS-Seaturtles.

………………it is a mater in fact -  one is only willing to protect that which one actually knows "-

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