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Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic supports a sea turtle conservation project in Indonesia

Sea turtles in Indonesia are at risk of extinction. Nowadays, four out of seven known species of sea turtles are present in Indonesia, two of them being critically endangered. The population size of these reptiles has been decreasing; in places like East Kalimantan and Sumatra the decrease has reached 90 % during the last 50 years!

The following human activities are the cause: collecting of turtle eggs to be sold as a special delicacy to tourists, destruction of turtle beaches by hotels, sale of tortoiseshell souvenirs on local markets, and water pollution. Turtles have been also suffering by destructive fishing practices since they often die caught in trawl nets. The fact that the protection of sea turtles by international conventions and Indonesian legislation does not bring the desired effect inspired a Czech environmentalist to launch a project Mořské želvy.cz.

The main aim of the project is to help making the local turtle protection more effective and to reduce the turtle product market (eggs and tortoiseshell). Hana Svobodova, the initiator and coordinator of the project Mořské želvy.cz, has been coming to Indonesia for several years now. After graduating at the Department of Environmental Studies of the Faculty of Science at the Charles University in Prague, where she focused on sea turtles and threats they may be exposed to, she went to study Indonesian language to the Padang University in Sumatra. Since then she’s been working as an expert advisor in several sea turtle protection centres in Indonesia. Nowadays, she cooperates closely with Konservasi Biota Laut Berau in Berau area in Borneo. As a part of her efforts, she also tries to educate tourists, local people and their children. Her activities in the area of public advocacy are supported by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic. With the Ministry’s support she developed a special board and memory games about turtles, their threats and possible ways to protect them.

More information about sea turtles and the project in Indonesia can be found on the following video, on the web Mořské želvy.cz , the project’s Facebook, and the web of the Turtle Foundation.