News Release

Box turtles face knockout as Indonesian traders export 100 times quota

27 February 2009
Southeast Asia Box Turtle (Photo © Chris R Shepherd / TRAFFIC)

Unregulated trade—at 10 to 100 times legal levels—has caused Southeast Asian Box Turtles almost to vanish from parts of Indonesia, where once they were common,according to a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

The turtles are used for meat and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with major markets in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia, mostly supplied from Indonesia. Animals are also exported as pets, mainly to the US, Europe and Japan.

The study found at least 18 traders operating in Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Kalimantan dealing illegally in Southeast Asian Box Turtles.

Each trader handled an average of just under 2,230 turtles a week, adding up to a combined total of 2.1 million Southeast Asian Box Turtles per year. The vast majority is destined for export, although Indonesia's official annual export quota for this species is just 18,000 turtles — a figure set without a scientific basis.

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