|A sea turtle researcher collects hawksbill turtle eggs to relocate them to nurseries, in order to protect them from poachers.|
It has been recently reported that the governments of Japan and Indonesia are to work together in an effort to save two species of sea turtles from extinction: the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle. Japan is known to be the main receiver of sea turtles and has been comparatively responsible for the eighty percent downfall of hawksbill turtles, which conservationists and scientists say are critically endangered. One anonymous environmental ministry in Indonesia stated that it is working with the Japanese to help put a stop in the illegal trade of these turtles. The process works when poachers capture the turtles in Indonesia and transport them back to Japan, including their eggs. Such exports spiked in the 1950s, but in recent years, despite legal actions, have returned. Japan stated that it is willing to work with Indonesia to help curb the ongoing illegal trade. According to Hiroyuki Suganuma, executive director of Everlasting Nature of Asia (ELNA), Japan has imported carapaces taken from 200,000 hawksbill turtles for 29 years since 1961. He stated that Japan has maintained its position as the major importer of sea turtles and their eggs, despite agreeing to ban the importation of such illicit products in 1992.
|A hawksbill turtle swimming|
|A leatherback turtle digging a nest|
Although I'm proud to see that both Japan and Indonesia have partnered up to save these two sea turtle species, I'm at the same time appalled and disgusted that the Japanese government has failed to keep its promise to prevent any flow illegal sea turtle products into the country. This goes to show that it is not always the traders and other operators of such lucrative and illegal business that are a threat to the wildlife, but also the government for having to ignore the flow of illicit wildlife products into a nation for public consumption. Japan is not the only nation to have a government turning a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the illegal wildlife trade. There are also a handful of other governments around the world that have also maintained positions as top importers of illegal wildlife products. Among those include different West and Central African countries that do not pay much attention to the bushmeat trade, despite the promises made to prevent any such flow of products for public consumption. For this reason, I firmly believe that it is crucial that governments in nations where the illegal wildlife trade reigns supreme should start acting, in order to condemn any further flow of wildlife products into the public. Making promises to prevent wildlife crimes is one thing, but acting in response to such crimes is another. And it is the acting that makes the most difference to both the public and the world.
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