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Animal Welfare

  Illegal turtle trade thriving - report

Friday 18 January 2008
turtleEndangered exotic freshwater turtles and tortoises are increasingly being traded on the illegal market in South East Asia despite conservation regulations, says a new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network set up by WWF and IUCN. More than half of the turtle and tortoise species sold by pet dealers at Jakarta were endangered, protected and obtained illegally. However rather than acting as a deterrent to trade, the status of the animals was found to be actively promoted as a selling point, generating higher prices.

The effects of the volume of trade on the sustainability of the species’ is not yet known, with no current population studies ongoing, but traders revealed that the process of smuggling the animals in and out of Indonesia was done ‘with ease’.

“The open trade in protected species indicates a lack of enforcement effort and blatant disregard for the law,” said Chris R Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer of TRAFFIC South-east Asia and author of the report. “TRAFFIC encourages the government of Indonesia to ensure combating wildlife crime is given high priority, and that every effort is made to clamp down on the criminals involved in it.”

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