Earth Advocates -

Stopping the slaughter of the Green Sea Turtle in the Indonesian Archipelago

Earth Advocates' campaign to Ban the Slaughter and Trade of Sea Turtles will continue until the government finally gets serious about stopping every phase of the Turtle trade and domestic consumption. To date the Earth Advocates have had major breakthroughs in combating this appalling business with no outside funding. The founder, Robin Marinos first realized this trade was happening during June 1997, and has since been the most outspoken advocate for stopping the trade. Through means of targeted investigations accompanied by direct action the Earth Advocates anticipated the end of the large scale trade which eventually occurred. However it has continued on a much smaller scale!

Here the selling to tourists of hollowed juvenile Sea Turtles at Gili Serangan during May 2005!

The first major breakthrough for Earth Advocates campaign was triggered by the video taped exposure and protest of the Turtle Trade operation at the World Bank Conference on Coral Reefs and at the U.S. State Department. During 1998, Earth Advocates revealed the existence of the illegal International Turtle trade Mafia operating from Indonesia, hiding behind relaxed government laws allowing Green Sea Turtles to be taken for supposed Balinese traditional religious rites. The Balinese slaughter and consumption of Sea Turtles for tradition religious reasons was in fact the front fueling Illegal International Trade, as well as supporting the lucrative business.

Earth Advocates investigated the rumored myth surrounding Balinese Religious sacrificial rites by seeking a clarification from a High Priest, Ida Pedanda Nyurah Kaleran, who clearly confirmed the opposite. Sea Turtles are sacred animals not to be killed and never to be consumed, contrary to previous popular belief. To confirm this point, the High Priest joined the Earth Advocates Protest Action June 7, 1998, at the Tanjung Turtle slaughtering grounds. This was the first time a Balinese High Priest visited and condemned this Trade. We are very honored to know such an honorable and outspoken Priest.
By 1999, the Indonesian legislature finally passed a law placing the Green Sea Turtle on the highly endangered species list, joining the other nearly extinct Sea Turtles. This however did not stop the continuing slaughter and trade. During June 1999, a further protest action was organized by Earth Advocates which again included the presence of the High Priest and this time the national media. A paid presence to the National Television of Indonesia to film the 'Protest Action' made it possible for Earth Advocates to get nationwide coverage for the first time. Interviews were focused on following topics: continued defiance of the new turtle protection laws, the on-going pillage of the Green Sea Turtles, and the aspects of religion. The Television Director/Producer was so moved by the 'Action' that he did not accept the final payment for the filming, and even organized for follow-up interviews thus triggering a dilemma for the Government to act

The Big Bust, Cooperative work between Police and Earth Advocates

During July 3, 2001, Earth Advocates presented its 4 year investigatory work to General Ardiyana, Balinese Chief of Police and his staff. A cooperative agreement made months earlier with the chief of Police, who immediately mobilized all ithe needed forces to bust and shut down the Turtle Mafia the same day. An amazing feat never before attempted or recorded in Indonesian history concerning Environmental crimes. Also over 130 Live and brutalized Turtles were seized and released to freedom! This marked the biggest success in combating the Turtle Trade and it effectively completely stopped the Turtle trade for 8 months, 3 months after Police Chief Ardiyana was replaced and eventually retired as a 2 Star General.

The trade started to show it presence on the streets of Bali again, Turtle Sate being sold at certain locations daily unabeted by Police of other authorties. Not even the well known Police Chief, Pastika can compare to the work of his teacher General Ardiyana. Now there's another Police Chief and we dont know his thought or willingness to tackle this matter but we are committed to stop this pillage forever. For the full stories, pictures, and video, go to Reports, Saving the Ancient Mariner.

There is still some work to be done by Indonesian authorities to stop the outright illegal defiance of the law in Bali's Gili Serangan and Putuh Sari Benoa, where this small scale trade is lead.