Timika, S Papua (ANTARA) - The Agats Agricultural Quarantine Agency in Asmat District, South Papua Province, secured 230 sea turtle eggs that local cops seized from a MV Leuser passenger early this week, the agency's officer stated.

The sea turtle eggs were brought by the vessel's passenger who sailed from Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, to Agats Port, Akhmad Zaini, the agency's officer, noted in a statement here, Thursday.

The cops stopped the passenger who carried a suspicious cardboard box. They then coordinated with their counterparts from the Agats Agricultural Quarantine Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

When the box was checked, they found 230 sea turtle eggs inside, Zaini remarked, adding that the sea turtle eggs were seized, as the passenger failed to show a quarantine certificate attached to his carriage.

His agency had handed the eggs over to the BKSDA-Papua Office's officers in Agats to enable them to identify the turtle species and know about the latest condition of the seized eggs, he added.

The Indonesian archipelago is home to several iconic species, including the sea turtle.

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World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia has reported that six of the seven living species of sea turtles recognized by scientists can be found in the country.

According to WWF Indonesia’s official website, four of the six species of sea turtles -- green turtles (Chelonia mydas), "belimbing" or leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), "sisik" or hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), and "lekang" or olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) -- lay their eggs in several of the country's coastal areas.

The Indonesian waters are also the most crucial migratory route for sea turtles at the crossroads of the Pacific and Indian oceans, it said.

Abun Sub-district's coastal areas in Tambrauw District, West Papua Province, are known as the largest nesting spots of leatherback turtles in the Pacific region.

The Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan Province have been recorded by WWF Indonesia as the largest nesting spot of green turtles in Southeast Asia.

In Java Island, Trisik Beach in Kulon Progo District, Yogyakarta Province, is also known as a green turtle nesting site.

Related news: Natural factors, humans threaten sea turtle ecosystem: Ministry

Translator: Agustina EJ, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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