Balinese officials have been asked to take strong action against souvenir sellers in Tanjung Benoa in southern Bali who are selling souvenirs made from turtle shells. The government has also been asked to control and moderate the increasingly popular release program for baby turtles from the beaches in front of various hotels on Bali, claiming such programs are more closely linked to commercial considerations than any genuine concern for the creatures.
According to ProFauna Bali, the sale of souvenirs made form turtle shell is still openly carried out in the Tanjung Benoa tourist area of Bali. A survey conducted in January of 2012 revealed widespread sale of bracelets, decorative boxes, and cigarette holders on Pulau Penyu, Tanjung Benoa.
Pulau Penyu at Tanjung Benoa is known a center for “turtle tourism” where hundreds of turtles are on display for visiting tourists. Tourists can be photographed holding turtles. The endangered species on display at Pulau Penyu include Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Olive Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), and Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).
All varieties of turtle are protected under law in Indonesia. This means that the commercial sales of turtles, alive or dead, including items made from the reptile’s body parts is strictly forbidden. According to the Natural Resource Conservation and Ecosystem Law Number 5 of 1990, those trading in protected species can be punished with 5 years in prison and fined Rp. 100 million.
Wita Wahyudi, a representative of ProFauna on Bali concluded: “It is an irony that there are hundreds of turtles and souvenir sellers both promoting items made from turtle shells in Tanjung Benoa. The Laws protecting endangered species are apparently only words written on paper. Enforcement is required.”
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