Indonesian government moves to regulate turtle trade
The Indonesian government has moved against rampant illegal trade in threatened species of turtles and tortoises, tightening regulations and contacting countries where turtles and tortoises are being obtained or sold.
The action follows revelations that more than half the species of freshwater turtles and tortoises being sold in Jakarta’s markets are threatened and illegally obtained.
The report, by TRAFFIC, a joint programme of WWF and IUCN - the World Conservation Union, was released last month.
From 1 March 2008, all specimens of freshwater turtles and tortoises listed in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) will require an import permit before entering into Indonesia. Those without will be disposed of.
The Indonesian government went into action in response to a report issued by the WWF-linked wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC which highlighted the rampant illegal trade in tortoises and turtles in the pet markets of Jakarta.
“This is the kind of swift and decisive action that is needed to stamp out the illegal trade in threatened tortoise and turtle species”, said Azrina Abdullah, Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
Countries of origin will also need to notify Indonesia before issuing export permits.
Private people already owning tortoises and turtles in Indonesia will have to comply with a new CITES Management Authority registration, the government announced.
The new regulations will benefit threatened species such as Radiated Tortoise and Indian Star Tortoise, which are amongst the most popular in trade, despite both being listed in the CITES Appendices and being protected in their native countries of origin.
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