An update from Dr. Hiltrud Cordes and Dr. Thomas Reischig of Turtle Foundation, currently in Berau:
Greetings from Berau!
Here comes an interesting story:
Yesterday we were informed, that the police confiscated a big amount of turtle eggs and handed it over to the KSDA (nature conservancy department).
We went to the KSDA-office to find out more. It is a big amount of eggs! About 4,500!! At about 100 eggs per nest, this would be about a week’s worth of eggs from all nests laid on Balembangan and Sambit together. This case clearly emphazises again the urgent need to protect those two islands from egg poaching!
We decided that we will bring the eggs to Sangalaki tomorrow and give it a try with „relocation“ – even though chances might be very low that any of the eggs will hatch. But you never know – maybe there are some strong survivers!
Of course we also tried to find out where the eggs come from and who brought them to Tanjung Redeb, but this turned out to be „delicate“. And that mean that most probably police- or army-members are involved. We heard rumours that a member of the marine confiscated the eggs on the river from a policeman, but this is not officially confirmed. The KSDA was not given any explanation and the case will most probably not be brought to court.
At least „somebody“ lost quite a lot of money, since the value of these eggs is at least 10 million rupiah.
On one of the bags which is originally a rice-bag we could identify a written note: SAMBIT. This indicates that this bag originally was sent to the island Sambit as food supply for the guards of the lighthouse there and later was used for collecting eggs from that island or the neighbouring Belambangan.