A successful protection project for sea turtles on the island of Sangalaki, running for over 12 years, was indiscriminately terminated by the local government without any explanation in late 2012. Now, endangered green sea turtle nests are being illegally plundered. Please help with your signature to urge the government to restore the protection programme to its full extent to give this threatened sea turtle population a real chance to survive!

The island of Sangalaki is one of the most important nesting islands of the green sea turtle in Indonesia. However, this population is currently less than 10% of the population 60–70 years ago. This is mainly the result of decades of excessive, professionally organised, and highly profitable collection of eggs from the nesting beaches. Without appropriate conservation measures, the population will be extinct in a few decades.

In 2002, the Turtle Foundation, an international organisation for the protection of sea turtles, achieved together with other conservation organisations that the national ban on green sea turtle egg collection, which exists since 1999, was finally also enforced on Sangalaki. Together with our local partner organisation Yayasan Penyu Berau (YPB) and with official permits we constructed a ranger station to allow year-round monitoring of the nesting beaches. Since then, egg theft was virtually eliminated on the island, and for the first time in decades sea turtle babies again hatched on Sangalaki and made their way to the sea.

It came as a total surprise when last September the local government ceased this conservation programme. Since then, the situation there obviously is going badly awry. The local conservation agency KSDA, who wanted to continue the conservation programme, seems to be unable to protect the turtle nests. According to information from the WWF, each of the 10 to 15 nests which are laid each night on Sangalaki are now immediately excavated and sold, despite the fact this is against Indonesian law which protects turtles and eggs. This corresponds, according to a market price of 10,000 Indonesian rupiah per egg (ca. 1 US$ or 0.8 EUR), to a daily sales value of 930–1,400 US$, adding up to 30,000–42,000 US$ per month!

Thus, illegal business interests and the ignorance of local authorities form a destructive alliance throwing sea turtle conservation efforts back years.

We thus request the immediate reinstatement of the programme for the protection of sea turtles and their eggs on Sangalaki!

In addition, a diving resort was recently re-opened on Sangalaki, whose new operator obviously has little appreciation for the conservation of the island and its sea turtles. Waste is deposited in the adjacent forest, construction disturbs the island’s sensitive ecosystem, and plans for further expansion of the resort include construction plans that are totally oversized for this small island. Lack of waste management and uncontrolled import of materials also pave the way for the re-introduction of rats. Introduced rats were eradicated from the island 10 years ago by an action conducted by Turtle Foundation. The rats were very abundant but not native on the island, and formerly killed large numbers of turtle hatchlings.

We are therefore requesting the responsible authorities to regulate the activities of the diving resort so that it neither endangers the nesting sea turtle population nor damages other parts of the ecosystem of Sangalaki.

Please sign this petition to help save the sea turtles of Sangalaki!

Letter to
General Director for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (Ministry of Forestry) Mr. Darori Wonosipuro
Director for the Conservation of Biodiversity (Ministry of Forestry) Mr. Novianto Bambang
Director for the Conservation of Areas and Fish Species (Ministry of Marine Affairs) Dr. Toni Ruchimat
Dear Mr. Darori Wonosipuro,
dear Mr. Dr. Toni Ruchimat
dear Mr. Novianto Bambang,

for more than 12 years a very successful protection programme for sea turtles was running on the island of Sangalaki (district of Berau, province East-Kalimantan), one of the most important nesting islands for sea turtles in Indonesia. The programme was operated by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Yayasan Penyu Berau (YPB) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With great regret I learned that in last September the programme was cancelled upon official order without any explanation.

Well over half a year has passed now and, contrary to respective announcements, the KSDA has not been able to continue the conservation programme in an appropriate manner. According to recent reports from the WWF turtle egg theft again takes place on Sangalaki and numerous nests are illegally plundered.

I therefore request you to immediately restore the protection programme to full extent on Sangalaki. It is very important for the survival of this endangered sea turtle population that it is not further threatened by egg theft.

Further, I’m very concerned about the newly opened dive resort on Sangalaki. Waste is deposited in the forest, and the planned expansion of the resort will lead to uncontrolled traffic of visitors on the island, thus heavily disturbing the nesting turtles. The new activity of the resort together with its lack of appropriate waste management additionally raises the danger of a new rat infestation threatening the turtles, the fragile ecosystem of the island, and also the health of human visitors of the island.

Sangalaki is a designated conservation area with the possibility of limited economic utilisation ("Taman Wisata Alam" / "Nature Recreational Park," according to Ministerial Decree no. 604/Kpts/Um/8/1982 from 19.08.1982). In such an area the interests of nature conservation prevail over that of economic development. I therefore ask you to keep this situation in mind while ensuring that the activities of the dive resorts do not jeopardise the nesting population of sea turtles, nor damage other parts of the fragile ecosystem of Sangalaki.

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