Anti turtle shell campaign in Indonesia


The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is one of the most endangered species of sea turtles. In addition to the usual threats, the main reason for this is hunting for their shell. The material is mainly used to produce jewellery and decorative utensils. Indonesia was probably once the home of the largest population of hawksbill turtles in the world, but there are now only a few thousand sexually mature turtles left in this huge region. The killing of sea turtles and the trade in turtle shell is officially forbidden in Indonesia, however, this is generally not sufficiently enforced. Beside the open offer on many markets, souvenir shops, and other shops particularly in touristic regions there is even a lively trade with turtle shell products in the Internet. Since each further decimation endangers the existence of the hawksbill turtle in Indonesia acutely, the trade with turtle shell must be fought urgently, both on the side of the supply and the demand.


Indonesia, nationwide. Project coordination: Bali


This project aims to save the hawksbill turtle from extinction in Indonesia by curbing the illegal trade in turtle shell products and stuffed animals. A large part of the project consists of public relations and campaign work. Specific activities include:

  • Development of a network of supporters in the Indonesian travel industry
  • Campaign aimed at international tourists to increase the awareness of the negative effects of buying turtle shell products on the remaining population of hawksbill sea turtles in Indonesia.
  • Campaign in the local social media to achieve a clear change in the awareness and behaviour of the local population with regard to turtle products; it is to be communicated that turtle shell jewellery and stuffed sea turtles are completely “out of fashion”.
  • Directly address online shopping platforms offering turtle shell products
  • Market observations at identified main sites of the tortoiseshell trade (Bali, Yogyakarta, Nias) with before and after analyses to determine the success of the project.
  • Certification of vendors who comply to cease selling sea turtle products
  • Investigation of production centres and commercial centres (Nias, Medan, Makassar, Surabaya, Yogyakarta)
  • Report investigation results to local authorities and initiate prosecution for known violations of applicable law.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the Indonesian nature conservation organisation Profauna, the US American campaign “Too Rare to Ware” and Indonesian authorities.

Project location

Map Indonesia, Wikipedia

Indonesia (Map: Wikipedia)


  • Start of project: 2019

  • Species in focus: Hawksbill sea turtle

  • Locations: All of Indonesia, with focus on Bali and Nias

  • Main activity: campaign work in social and classical media, investigation

Dead, de-scaled hawksbill turtle floating in the sea; Berau, Indonesia

Dead hawksbill turtle floating on the sea in the Derawan archipelago, Indonesia 

Turtle shell jewellery sold on Derawan island, Indonesia

Turtle shell jewelry, sold openly at the market on Derawan Island

Turtle shell bracelet sold on Derawan, Indonesia

This turtle shell bracelet is offered publicly to tourists for a few Euros.

Stuffed hawksbill turtles sold on Derawan island, Indonesia

Stuffed hawksbill turtles are offered as wall decoration (Derawan, Berau)