Indonesia: Sukamade beach home for thousands of sea turtles

Antara 31 Jan 16;

Jember (ANTARA News) - Thousands of sea turtles have landed in Sukamade Beach in the Meru Betiri National Park of East Java to lay eggs during the nesting season in 2015, an official said.

"In 2015, we recorded there were 1,557 sea turtles arriving in the beach," Head of Meru Betiri National Park Authority Pranoto Puroso said here on Sunday.

However, 751 out of the 1,557 turtles were in the status of locally called "memeti", a condition where the sea turtles do not manage to lay eggs.

There were four species of sea turtles recorded to land in Sukamade Beach, namely green (Chelonia mydas), Olive ridley (Lepdochelys olivaceae), hawksbill (Eretmochlys imbricata), and leatherback sea turtles (Dermochleys coriaceae).

The green sea turtle was the most common visitor to the Sukamade Beach.

The authority counted 1,488 green sea turtles landed in the beach, 64 olive ridley and five hawksbill sea turtles.

However, last year, they did not encountered any leatherback sea turtle visit to the beach.

Thousands of sea turtles came to the Sukamade Beach which is located in Sorangan Village, Pseanggaran Subdistrict of Banyuwangi District due to its white and delicate sand and the abundant algae, sea turtles favourite meals, in its water, Puroso said.

Officers of the national parks authority were deployed everyday to patrol on the beach.

"After we found a sea turtle laying eggs, officers would move the eggs to the conservation area as sea turtle eggs poaching is still rampant along the coast of Sukamade Beach of Banyuwangi," Puroso said.

Sukamade Beach is considered one of the best habitat of sea turtles in Indonesia as sea turtles can be found everyday landing in the beach which stretches 3 kilometers long at the southern coast of Java Island.

"The preservation of the endangered species such as sea turtles will be impossible without a full cooperation between the national park authority and the local people," Puroso said.

In other part of Indonesia such as in Padang, West Sumatra Province, the authority found sea turtle eggs poaching is still rampant.

Four suspects were arrested with confiscated 362 sea turtle eggs believed to have been poached from green sea and hawksbill sea turtles.

Deputy Director of Special Crime Investigation Unit (Reskrimsus) of West Sumatra Police Office, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Hengki, said four regions in West Sumatra have been identified as being prone to illegal trade in sea turtle eggs, namely Padang municipality, the districts of Pesisir Selatan, Padang Pariaman, and West Pasaman.

(Reporting by Zumrotun Solichah/Uu.A059/B003)

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