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The plight of the Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Sea turtles are graceful saltwater reptiles, well adapted to life in their marine world. The green sea turtle is a medium to large brownish sea turtle with a radiating or mottled pattern of markings on the shell. The head is small in comparison to the other sea turtles and the biting edge of the lower jaw is serrated. Adult shell lengths range in size from 0.9-1.1 meters (36-43 inches) and weights average 90-137 kilograms (200-300 pounds). The greatest cause for the decline of green turtles has been commercial harvest for eggs and food, as well as their use for leather and jewelry.

Read more: The plight of the Green Sea Turtle

Saving the Ancient Mariner – Observations 1997

  One of many malnourished and injured turtles being held during June 1997 in pens in Tanjung, Bali, only one km. from the popular Nusa Dua tourist resorts. This one showed evidence of injures including an open head injury normally a result of appalling treatment in the movement and transportation of the turtles to the slaughtering grounds in Bali.
Turtle holding pens in Tajung, Bali. Some pens were holding up to 70 plus battered, de- hydrated, and starving Green sea turtles. They are subjected to unimaginable pain and torture up to weeks before finally being slaughtered for consumption by the mostly Far eastern tourists visiting Bali.
Read more: Saving the Ancient Mariner – Observations 1997


New gruesome Evidence

On May 31, 1998, the Tanjung Turtle Slaughter Grounds was visited by two uninvited guests posing as prospective buyers, one an interested buyer from Singapore.

.Upon arrival to Jalan Segara Lor (Street),Tanjung, location of the most well known Sea Turtle Holding pens and Slaughter grounds, we were witness to the horrific handling and mass transport of live Turtles, large and small. These thirty or so were supposed to be bound for Balinese customers for " ceremonies" although no official ceremonies were scheduled, this the normal and accepted alibi in Indonesia when dealing with Sea turtles. Many of the Turtles were continually bleeding from their tied fin-holes, from where they are carried hanging from a solid rod.




One particularly large turtle's fins were ripped to the bone, a combination of his body weight and movement due to the pain. This pain was noticeable as he was carried and loaded on a pickup truck helplessly flapping his lower fins. Of the 30 or more Turtles transported at that moment, 15 were years from maturity, and all were visibly scarred from abuse.

It also was evident that there existed no government official nor any members of the WWF turtle preservation office present monitoring the movement and handling of the turtles.


A Balinese Religious Leader visits Turtle Pens

A Balinese Religious Leader visits Turtle Pens and Slaughtering-Grounds and condemns the Slaughter and Trade.

A historic event was achieved through the efforts of Robin Marinos and allies to ban the Turtle Trade and Slaughter (this interview was documented on video tape).

June 7, 1998, was the first time since the existence of the Turtle slaughtering grounds at Tanjung, Indonesia, that a Balinese High Priest escorted by Robin Marinos and other concerned individuals, visited and condemned the area and the practices being committed there. This event was organized after a three hour meeting and discussion on June 3 between the High Priest Ida Pedanda Nyurah Kaleran and Mr. Marinos concerning the relationship between Balinese Religion and the current state of the Turtle in Indonesia.

The timing of the visit couldn't have been better. Newly arrived boats had earlier unloaded their catch, and morning normally is the slaughter time here. All the visitors could now witness the brutal truth concerning the daily practices in Tanjung, Bali, Indonesia.

One of the revelations was the complete disregard for size and maturity, thus a disregard for reproduction and survival of the species. The overwhelming small sizes of the new arrivals, also evidenced that the turtles are being caught by indiscriminate netting and hunting methods. Not only through selective poaching in mating and beaching areas (e.g.,. before or after laying eggs), many mature Sea Turtles are caught using spread fishing nets with hooks. This combined with the number of new arrivals also revealed the increase in demand and the decrease in supply, now that so many of the Mature Sea Turtle population has been practically wiped-out! None of these however will ever have a chance to mature or reproduce (all these estimated to be slaughtered within two weeks).

The High Priest admitted that the killing and consumption of the Turtle is not to be practiced nor is permitted by true Hindus, and that the systematic slaughter had very little to do with Balinese religion rather with human greed and exploitation at its best ! 'Any other interpretation is just an interpretation and does not reflect the religious truth, more like a lie, even 'sacrilegious'! This was the exact message coming from all the Indonesian visitors present. The fact that no major ceremonies were scheduled further asserted this claim .

All the visitors witnessed maltreatment, death, and the aura of death while viewing the main slaughter area. Their were body parts all over the floor as the butcher separated bits and pieces. The last victims head being cut away from its already opened shell full of its inner organs. Piles of already separated meat were being prepared for orders to the expanding Turtle Sate (Kebab) market, it was revealed that the consumption market had expanded due to successful marketing plus little resistance by 'others' including Conservation organizations already present in Indonesia. Approximately ten empty shells were the only existing identity markings of the morning turtle slaughter.


Each death being witnessed by the other plus 60 helpless fin-tied victims of this systematic form of murder, painfully awaiting their turn to be slaughtered.

Read more: A Balinese Religious Leader visits Turtle Pens

Interview with a Balienese High Priest

June 9, 1998

A Balinese High Priest explains the gross misinterpretation of Balinese Hinduism in context to the Turtles' current situation.
Read the facts about the true religious doctrine in contrast to the reality of current practices, and what has to be done to change these practices

A major step toward Banning the Sea Turtle Trade and Slaughter was made after a recorded interview with the Balinese High Priest, Ida Pedanda Gee Nyurah Kaleran.

A powerful and definite stance was taken the by the High Priest to clarify the Balinese religious dilemma concerning Turtles and the Turtle Trade in regard to Balinese Religious Rites. Also the parallel roles and responsibilities of the Indonesian Governmental and Environmental groups was discussed. All these aspects will be briefly explained in the following as discussed by founder of Earth Advocates and the Pedanda (High Priest).


Read more: Interview with a Balienese High Priest