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VETERINARY CLINIC FOR SEA TURTLE BALI - INDONESIA

Updated: 7 days ago

Mission Report 2023


THE PROJECT :

The Bali Sea Turtle Protection Project was established in December 2022 by SCS in collaboration with the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) , a non-profit, non-governmental organization established to protect Indonesia's wildlife.


Founded in 2008, the goal of JAAN and its team of volunteers is to:

work with the public and Indonesian authorities to save animals from the farm. It is also the only organization in Indonesia that legally works under a memorandum of understanding with the government, the National Police and the Ministry of Forestry and Environment to combat wildlife crime and rehabilitate wild animals saved
  • run programs to help curb wildlife extinction

  • put an end to illegal trafficking resulting from poaching

  • improve animal welfare



Femke den Haas, founder of JAAN (middle), with Max-Olivier Bourcoud and Florian Billarant of SCS – Lausanne, August 2023



WHY PROTECT SEA TURTLES?

Sea turtles are ancient, peaceful reptiles adapted to life in the ocean. There are 7 species in the world, 6 of which are found in Indonesian waters. Classified from smallest to largest, we find: the Leatherback Turtle ( Dermochelys coriacea ), the Green Turtle ( Chelonia Mydas ), the Loggerhead Turtle ( Caretta caretta ), the Hawksbill Turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ), the Olive Ridley Turtle ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) and the Kemp's tortoise ( Lepidochelys kempii ).


Sea turtles play a vital ecosystem role as essential links in the food chain and helping to maintain the balance of coastal and ocean ecosystems. As herbivorous and carnivorous predators, they regulate populations of jellyfish, algae and fish, helping to maintain the biodiversity and health of coral reefs. Additionally, sea turtles transport nutrients between marine habitats and beaches when they lay their eggs, promoting the fertility of coastal ecosystems. Their very existence is therefore crucial for the preservation of marine life and the sustainability of the oceans. Therefore, the protection of sea turtles is a priority for the benefit of overall marine conservation.


In Indonesia, sea turtles are protected by regulations of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment and the Ministry of Fisheries. Many institutions and government agencies are working to raise public awareness of the protected status of sea turtles, but the trade in live turtles, concentrated in Bali, remains a major problem. Indeed, coming from nesting beaches throughout Indonesia, particularly the islands of Sulawesi and Java, they are transported illegally by boat to Bali to be sold for their meat and for occult ceremonies.


In 2022, and for the first time in the country's history, the government set up a maritime police force responsible for investigating, tracking down poachers, bringing them to justice and confiscating their loot. Since their start, five turtle confiscation operations have taken place, which has also made it possible to seize more than 192 live animals.



THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:

As part of its marine turtle protection project located in Bali, in Sumberkima Bay, the JAAN has set itself the objective with the SCS of:

  • collect live sea turtles seized by authorities;

  • investigate poaching networks in collaboration with the authorities and dismantle trafficking networks;

  • treat turtles which almost systematically present injuries due to the ropes that tie them up and to brutal handling by poachers ;

  • ensure their safe return to the ocean once recovered;

  • raise awareness among local communities of the need to protect turtles and their habitat


Location of our treatment center in Bali (©Google)



THE FIRST MEANS AVAILABLE:

To do this, thanks to financial support from the SCS, the JAAN built a veterinary center with the following equipment to enable it to carry out its mission:

  • - 10 fiberglass swimming pools of 2.5 meters in diameter

  • - 1 USG ultrasound machine (ultrasound equipment)

  • - veterinary equipment (stainless steel tubes, syringes, etc.)

Between October 16 and November 28, 2023, 20 other turtles joined the center.




PROJECT TIMELINE:
December 2022 - October 2023

: turtle returned to the water

💉: neat turtle.

☠️: deceased turtle


Between October 16 and November 28, 2023, 20 other turtles joined the center.



OUTLOOK:

The year 2022 saw the advent of the first ever maritime brigade set up by the Indonesian government, dedicated to the investigation and apprehension of those responsible for poaching. The seizures made in January 2023 marked a historic milestone for the archipelago.


Thanks to the strengthening of surveillance and sanctions, poachers have become more discreet. The deterrence exerted by such reprisals could explain the absence of seizures between June 2023 and mid-October 2023. In addition, occult ceremonies, for which these animals are very popular, are not held all year round, which could also contribute to this situation.


The Indonesian government exclusively approached Femke den Haas to lead the project, whose previous successful achievements in environmental protection in Indonesia had convinced it. Therefore, our veterinary clinic is intended to continue its activities in the future, in close cooperation with the Bali authorities, and thus welcome several dozen sea turtles each year.


In addition, with the expansion of the center in October 2023, training courses for government veterinarians are planned, the first of which took place at the end of October. At the end of November, 25 volunteer veterinarians visited the center.

In 2024, SCS will continue to actively support JAAN actions in Bali.


The SCS, the Foundations and donors who support it, as well as the JAAN have therefore contributed to real and notable progress in Indonesia for the survival of sea turtles. Indeed, from January to the end of November 2023, 94 confiscated or stranded turtles were entrusted to our veterinary center , of which 92 were released in good health.


To these can also be added those whose dissuasive effort by the maritime police has prevented them from falling into the hands of poachers.

Furthermore, our action also allowed the arrest of two major Indonesian traffickers of poached turtles, sentenced to prison .




 

We are extremely grateful for the support of SCS,

allowing us to set up a proper clinic with equipment needed to allow veterinary quick and professional response to sea turtles in need.

Femke den Haas, founder of JAAN, 11/28/2023


 


Photo credits: ©JAAN-SCS

Lausanne, November 28, 2023 / © Max-Olivier Bourcoud /SCS


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