Sorong, Jubi – The Pacific Aquatic Resources Research Center (P2SP2) of Papua University confirmed that the turtle population in Kaimana, West Papua province is almost extinct.
It is said only seven species of turtles in the world and six of them are from Indonesia. Four from the six species of Indonesian turtles are exist in West Papua province, they are green turtles, hawksbill, cleaved turtles, and leatherback turtles whose movements spread to Aru, Kei, Southeast Maluku, Kaimana and Fakfak, West Papua Province.
In March-October 2016, P2SP2 conducted research on turtles. The survey conducted at Etna Bay (Lakahia and Ombanariki) and Venu Island, Kaimana.
Unipa Lecturer of Marine Biology and Conservation Ricardo Tapilatu said the number of turtles decreased due predators such as pigs, monitor lizards, hawks and sharks. Environmental conditions also greatly affect, such as high sand temperatures and high tides.
“There has been a drastic reduction in the number of turtles. For example leatherback turtle species in 2008 is about 15,000 nests per year, dropping to 2,000 nests per year in 2011. Last year there were only 1,500 nests per year,” he said in a written statement received by Jubi in Sorong, Tuesday (25/4 / 2017).
The biggest threat to turtles, he said is human behavior. The use of fishing tools such as hooks and fishing rods choked the turtles off and threaten its survival. In addition, the plastics that turtles eat caused them to die.
The turtle plays an important role for the conservation of the marine environment. Green turtles, for example, are the key species that feed on sea grass, so the sea grass fertility increases. While hawksbill consume sponges, but also maintain the fertility of sponges.
“Turtles release their eggs on sandy beaches could be a good indicator of the coastal environment. The turtles only seek clean waters and beaches free from pollution with natural ecosystems, “said Director of Indonesia Marine Conservation International, Victor Nikijuluw.
Kaimana Deputy Regent, Ismail Sirfefa said there should be socialization of this issue to the community, and invite them to also protect species of turtles and it environtment. “(and) People should stop consuming turtles,” he said.(*)
Reporter : Florence Niken
Editor : Zely Ariane