The Agats Agricultural Quarantine Agency in Asmat District, South Papua Province, has confiscated 230 sea turtle eggs that were seized from a passenger on the MV Leuser earlier this week.
The passenger had brought the sea turtle eggs from Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, to Agats Port.
The eggs were discovered in a suspicious cardboard box, and the passenger failed to present a quarantine certificate for transporting the eggs.
As a result, the eggs were seized, and they have been handed over to the local Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Agats for identification of the turtle species and assessment of the eggs’ condition.
Indonesia is home to several iconic species, including sea turtles. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia has reported that six of the seven living species of sea turtles recognized by scientists can be found in the country.
Four of these species, including green turtles, leatherback turtles, hawksbill turtles, and olive ridley turtles, lay their eggs in various coastal areas of Indonesia.
The country’s waters serve as a crucial migratory route for sea turtles at the intersection of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Notably, Abun Sub-district’s coastal areas in Tambrauw District, West Papua Province, are recognized as the largest nesting spots of leatherback turtles in the Pacific region, while the Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan Province are recorded as the largest nesting spot of green turtles in Southeast Asia.
Additionally, Trisik Beach in Kulon Progo District, Yogyakarta Province, is known as a green turtle nesting site in Java Island.
When Do Sea Turtles Begin Traveling?
Sea turtles embark on a remarkable journey throughout their lives, beginning with their frenzied swim to the sea as hatchlings.
During the nesting season, thousands of female sea turtles come to the shore to make nests, lay their eggs, and then depart once their work is complete.
After a lengthy incubation period, the hatchlings emerge from the eggs, and their instinct drives them to make their way to the sea, as the land is not a safe place for them.
The first 48 hours following their emergence from the nest are crucial for the baby sea turtles, as they face numerous predators on the seashore while attempting to reach the water.
Despite the hardships, the surviving hatchlings eventually make it to the water, where they continue to encounter predators such as dolphins, sharks, and killer whales.
As a result, approximately 50 to 60 percent of sea turtle babies and juveniles perish each year, leaving the remaining sea turtles to constantly move around in the sea in order to stay safe.
Once male sea turtles enter the sea, they never return to the land.
However, when female hatchlings mature, they do return to their nesting place to lay their eggs, continuing the extraordinary cycle of life for sea turtles. Learn more here, How Far Do Sea Turtles Travel?