Padangbai police and officers from the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) seized 280 kilograms of turtle meat from a truck at East Bali’s Padangbai port on Saturday afternoon.
Though the official travel documentation said that the vehicle was carrying grouper fish, further inspection revealed its contents included eight styrofoam boxes filled with illegal turtle meat.
The truck driver, thirty-year-old Kornellis Kalli from the island of Sumba in East Nusa Tenggara claimed to have no knowledge of the truck’s contents.
“According to the perpetrator’s statement the items were loaded from the Sape ferry port in Bima on Wednesday (3/4) at around 10pm. There were 60 containers of fish bound for Mataram [Lombok], and 31 boxes for Padanggalak [Denpasar]. The truck [and driver] were rented for IDR2.5 million (US$177) and the perpetrator didn’t know that there was turtle meat in the boxes,” said the head of the BKSDA, Budhy Kurniawan yesterday, as quoted by Detik.
At present, the truck driver is still at the Padangbai Police Station. The police are still examining him regarding the smuggling of protected animal meat.
Despite the fact that the trading of all turtle species, turtle products, and their eggs is now prohibited under Indonesian law, the meat is reportedly still available on the black market.
Just last month, Gianyar Police recovered 13 endangered green turtles from a parked car in the village of Ketewel, East Bali. It was suspected that the turtles were caught as part of the illegal turtle meat trade. Luckily for them, they were rescued in the nick of time, nursed back to health at the turtle conservation center in Serangan, and released on Kuta Beach.