Timika, Jubi – Mimika Police are working with Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) to immediately release thousands of young pig-nosed turtles to their habitat in Asmat Regency after they were seized from smugglers in Timika.
Mimika Police Chief Yustanto Mudjiharso said in Timika on Thursday (25/2/2016) half of the turtles seized were already dead and the remaining should be released immediately.
“We are focusing to immediately release those protected animals to their natural habitat in Asmat Regency because most of them are dead. Young dead turtles are preserved to keep as evidence to complete the investigation of this case,” said Yustanto.
In order to minimize cases of smuggling of pig-nosed turtles outside of Papua, the Police continuously work with relevant stakeholders. “We have relied with the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency, Fisheries Quarantine, and KSDA representatives in Timika. We need to synchronize our perception on how to prevent the smuggling of those animals to outside of Papua,” he said.
BKSDA Papua has deployed an expert and two civil investigators to work with us in handling this case.
The protected and endangered pig-nosed turtle is Papuan endemic animal whose habitat in the swamps located in the border between Asmat and Mimika regencies. Thousands of pig-nosed turtles was about being smuggled from Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika by a culprit on Monday (15/2).
To fool the officers, a total of 3,230 young turtles have been put into boxes and packed into four suitcases. Security officer in Timika Airport suspected someone who brought four suitcases to get in the luggage of Sriwijaya Air flight destination to Jayapura and Jakarta because not passed entrance of X-ray examination.
“Perpetrator with initial S is employee of ground handling department of an airline company in Timika, therefore those packages could escape the X-ray scanning at the airport,” said the Section Head of KSDA Region II Timika, Frans Mansay.
The Head of BKSDA Papua MG Nababan said the pig-nosed turtle is one of protected animals regulated in the Law No 5 of 1990 and Government Regulation No 7 of 1999.
The perpetrator, he said, may be subject to a maximum penalty of five years sentence or a maximum fine of Rp100 million. Pig-nosed turtle is also one of endangered animals listed in the Appendix II CITES that only live in the swamps of the Southern Papua, Southern Papua New Guinea and North Australia. (*/rom)