Jakarta‚Äôs illegal trade in threatened tortoises and turtles persisting, warns TRAFFIC
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 10:37
TRAFFIC in Enforcement, Herpetological, In Asia, Report launch

The Trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles in Jakarta, Indonesia revisited report reveals persistence of the illegal freshwater and turtle pet trade in Jakarta's markets, with an apparent increasing emphasis on rare and threatened species. Click image to download report (PDF, 750 KB).

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Jakarta, Indonesia 17th August 2011—The open trade in protected freshwater turtles and tortoises in Jakarta’s markets includes a growing number of non-native and threatened species, a new TRAFFIC study warns.

Surveys in the Indonesian capital’s animal markets, reptile expos and pet stores showed that there were more species in trade in 2010 (49 species) than recorded in a similar study in 2004 (47) by the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC.

The Trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles in Jakarta, Indonesia revisited (PDF, 900 KB) also reported that over 70 per cent of species seen in trade in Jakarta originated outside Indonesia, compared to just over half in 2004.  Much of these were from other parts of Asia, with the highly-prized Indian Star Tortoise topping the list.

The 2010 observations found a total of 139 individuals of seven species listed in Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora), compared to 113 individuals of six species observed in 2004 – such species are prohibited from international commercial trade.

Two Spider Tortoises (foreground) at a reptile expo in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 10, 2010. This species is listed in Appendix I of CITES, which means international commercial trade in them is prohibited Click image to enlarge © C. Stengel/TRAFFIC Southeast AsiaThose found in 2010 were the Black Spotted Pond Turtle Geoclemys hamiltonii, Egyptian Tortoise Testudo kleinmanni, Indian Peacock Softshell Aspideretes hurum, Indian Softshell Turtle Aspirderetes gangetica, Ploughshare Tortoise Astrochelys yniphora, Radiated Tortoise Astrochelys radiata and Spider Tortoise Pyxis arachnoids.

Also found were native species like the Pig-nosed Turtle Carettochelys insculpta, New Guinea Snapping Turtle Elseya novaeguineae and the Malaysian Giant Turtle Orlitia borneensis, all totally protected under Indonesian national law.

“The 2010 data confirm previous findings about the levels of illegal trade in freshwater turtles and tortoises in Jakarta’s markets and also demonstrates how it has persisted,” said Carrie J. Stengel, researcher with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

“Of further concern is the apparent increasing emphasis on rare and threatened species in the pet trade.”

With more Asian freshwater turtles and tortoises expected to become Critically Endangered in the coming years, the ramifications of such targeted and persistent illegal extraction and trade will be enormous.  

The report acknowledges Indonesia’s efforts to strengthen relevant legislation, build enforcement capacity and increase seizures but points to the continuing illegal trade as proof that much more needs to be done.

“The wildlife markets and expos in Jakarta need to be carefully monitored and anyone found selling illegal species must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

“These markets have been selling illegal wildlife for decades and it is time the authorities show this will not be tolerated any longer.”


For further information:

Chris R Shepherd, Regional Deputy Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. Tel: +6012 2340790, email: cstsea@po.jaring.my

Richard Thomas, Communications Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC. Tel: +44 1223 279068, email: richard.thomas@traffic.org

Article originally appeared on TRAFFIC (http://www.traffic.org/).
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