The Sea Turtle Hostages of Nias

Kitty Putresuod
Swellnet Dispatch

7th January 2020, mid-afternoon and the tide's higher than usual. I guess it's a full moon or one's just around the corner. It's pouring and windy. No one is keen and hungry enough to go out to The Point. Rain water continues to drip off my jacket as I stand at the top of the staircase. Suddenly, one of the staff calls out my name to inform me that there is someone downstairs to see me.

A stranger appears at the bottom of the staircase with a box in one hand, accompanied by a sly smile stained red by his constant use of betel quids. A few workers gather around to look at the content in the box while chattering amongst themselves in their local language. They do not stay long as I start a rather lukewarm conversation with the stranger. I am absolutely unhappy to discover the content in the box. I interrogate him, take a couple of photos and gather his personal details. I assure him that that his privacy would be protected if he agrees to my conditions.

In the box is a green sea turtle, or maybe a hawksbill. It is a rather young one, about 30 cm long, maybe 7 years old with a few barnacles on its carapace. There's no time to check because all that matters is the sea turtle’s freedom.

The stranger wants to sell the sea turtle to me. This is not the first time to happen in Sorake. It has been a constant activity for the locals in the surrounding villages to visit the losmens and other residences in Sorake with the intention to sell sea turtles to the tourists and surfers. It is a business; an illegal business.

Often, they will tell the story of how they have saved the sea turtles from villagers who were going to eat them. They will also claim that it is legal in Nias and Sorake. Yes, I am not kidding. It is a lucrative and thriving business for them. Many tourists and surfers are inclined to pay and save the sea turtles. It is a catch 22 situation. The price is around 300 000 to 500 000 rupiah. Basically, the sea turtles are being held hostage. “Pay or the sea turtles die”. It creates a bad vibe. Would you like to spend your holiday like this?

The stranger with the red sinister smile claims that he rescued the sea turtle from a villager who was going to kill and eat it. He says it all with a smile. He claims that it is legal to hunt, eat and sell sea turtles in Nias. It is the usual story. He claims that he does not want any trouble. Sadly, I doubt that he is the last sea turtle kidnapper to visit Sorake in search for tourists and surfers to bribe them for the sea turtles’ freedom. 

The locals around me shy away as the incident unfolds. The police are at least 30 minutes away if they react immediately. It's pouring with rain, and chances are slim that they'd drive all the way from Teluk Dalam to Sorake. To tie him up until the police arrive was also not the answer as none of the locals want to be involved in the situation. 

I am on my own. Bystanders slowly disappear to pretend to do their work. They are as far away as possible from the stranger and the brewing issue.

I offer to pay for his trouble as he claimed to have saved the turtle. I will not pay for the turtle. He refuses my offer and so I walk away. 100K rupiah is too little for him.

I ask the workers for help but none of them will move. I offer to pay for helping me but there are no takers; not at any price. No one wants to help me take the sea turtle way from the kidnapper. No help is provided.

Thoughts of me with a machete on my back start to haunt me. I do not want to make a scene or start an unrest. I walk across the garden, away from that bunch of wusses who did not want to help me, and towards the house. The sea turtle kidnapper with the sinister red smile is no longer smiling. He is sitting on the steps with the box beside him.
“I am taking this,” I firmly say to him as I quickly take the box and walk away as fast as possible. Filled with fear, I so not dare look behind. I am afraid that he will chase me down the reef with a machete. My head will end up on the reef of Sorake. Would that be big news? It wasn't long ago that people in this area would sometimes kill each other over problems. The fear is real; I am willing to die for a turtle.

As I march down the garden again and towards the reef, the rain is pelting down on my head. I wade the knee high water on to the reef to get as deep as possible before I reach the edge, before the waves push me over. Feeling a bit safe, I have a quick look behind to check if a machete is coming towards me.

No one is behind me. I am safe. It's just me and the sea turtle on the reef. I feel safe from the turtle kidnapper. But not safe from Mother Nature. It is pouring, the tide was coming in and the waves were breaking stronger. And I am afraid of lightning.

I looked down to check if the sea turtle was doing fine. It is calm. It looks at me. I must look like a giant albino sea turtle with my white hood on. I continue to walk as deep and as safe as possible for the both of us. By now, my dress is soaking wet and sticking to my legs and my hair is plastered all over my wet face. I stopped walking when the sea water reaches my thighs and deep and safe enough for the turtle. As gently as possible, I remove it from the box. It doesn't struggle. I place it in the water and it smoothly swims away, over the edge of the reef and into the dark water.

I am worried as I watch it disappear into the water. I am worried for the sea turtles in Sorake, Nias and its surrounding area. It is unfortunate that none of the locals in Sorake understand that hunting, eating and trading sea turtles will affect their land, livelihood and the future generations. They do not see how it would affect them. This incident is not the first time and I doubt that it will be the last.


Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 3:27pm

That’s some admirable courage you displayed and I applaud you for your concern for the welfare of the turtles.

Just be careful. I hear that you are aware of the dangers and it makes your act even more impressive , but it’s not your country and it’s not your culture . Whether you are right or wrong is irrelevant when you are dealing with people who may have nothing in the world and who are born to a world where the value of human life is held in less regard due to both culture and the proximity of sheer desperation to survive.

Some people will seriously fuck you up if you try to impose your wealthy Western tourist imperatives on them in their own country. Sometimes they might resent you for even being there and if you jeopardise their livelihoods....look out !

Again , well intentioned and I fully understand. Try and educate the locals with as little patronisation as possible. But perhaps it’d be better to focus your instinctually caring nature on the glaring injustices against animals within our own least it’s a bit less likely that an Aussie won’t slit your throat and dump you in the scrub.

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 11:04am

blowin > i've grown to respect your perspectives over the years. thankyou. > RR

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 12:23pm

Thanks for sharing, Blowin. Ever since the incident, I've been sleeping with a spear gun until my friends arrive. If my head ever ends up on the reef, a few rice bowls will potentially be affected. But it's alright. Cest la vie

Turtle Organisation/Yayasan Penyu Indonesia are already on it. They have done studies on the beaches and investigating the production centres and commercial centres in Nias (Gunungsitoli). Other locations includes Medan, Makassar, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

There are also educational activities with the local children to increase awareness of turtle conservation. Check out @sorakeseaturtles on Instagram.

A number of losmen owners are clearly against it. It's getting better. It won't be an overnight change. It takes time. Bali took about 20 years to reach where they are today. Nias is a long term awareness building programme.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 3:43pm

Surprised to hear this is still happening in Sorake, police/army have really been cracking down on the turtle thing they often check the slow ferries for turtles and very rare to see sold openly at market anymore.

Two years ago in the Telos saw a boat from an outer island bring in six of various sizes to sell to locals, made my blood boil.

All the locals these days know its illegal and many do understand if they keep doing there will be none left, but it's more nobody wants to cause any issues which could also see themselves or family become victims.

I couldn't do anything, but i did tell the locals that in the Mentawai's even those who buy now are jailed by the police just to try to scare them. (not true but at least it would make them more worried that might happen in their region too)

Whispers's picture
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Whispers commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 11:13am

Have spent a lot of time in Sorake recently.
This is a weekly occurrence what makes it worse is the losmen owners do not discourage this behavior.
If you try to show any aggression in order to gain release then local people gather around to intimidate.
I would suggest walking away not paying they will soon get sick of turtle soup

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 6:50pm

Okay, still surprised its still happening, i don't go there that often and when i do for only a day or two but never seen it, i thought the locals had stopped it but sadly sounds as if they haven't

rhys1983's picture
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rhys1983 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 4:17pm

This happened when I was there a few years ago (2014). A random Scandinavian guy grabbed it and sprinted off down the road with it and it nearly got very ugly.

That being said, if I was struggling to feed my family I would have no issue selling a turtle but no idea on this particular individuals background.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 4:52pm

The locals have found a way to monetise the instinctually caring nature of Westerners for nature. How very Machiavellian. Poor turtles, they probably go around in a cycle of capture and release.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 12:36pm

I heard from the locals that capture/release is common. Maybe the turtles have been domesticated?

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 10:27am

they do vj, I read it in lonely planet

a well worn scam that made it to the lonely planet pages (when people had a lp that had pages), then some locals pulled it on me after being there a few days

except there was no picking this little cutie up and running off, it must have been 100 years old and over a metre in size, in someone's front garden, on the lawn, on it's back, flapping away, heavy shit

unfortunatly, I don't have a brave story like this person, I had to walk away, uneasily confident it was part of the catch and release scam story I had read about earlier

much repect for your actions, but I must agree, we need to be very careful making these values judgements whilst in other people's backyards. especially in developing countries where the vast disparity is so in your face

different world for those people

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 8:54pm

I so did not know this was a common scam.

I applaud this young ladies actions and I'm glad it turned out ok. Sometimes, as others have mentioned, it can turn out quite ugly.

Reminds me of a story I was told as a child.

A long time ago after a huge storm, the violent sea had calmed and the sun had come out. Scattered along the beach were thousands of starfish that had been washed up by the storm. A little girl was walking along the beach and picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the water.

An old man watching said to her "what are you doing? Are you stupid? You can't hope to ever make a difference."

The little girl paused for a moment, slowly bent down and picked up a starfish and with all her might, she threw it as far as she could back into the sea.

She looked up at the old man and without blinking she said to him- "I made a difference to that one."

I love that story, so simple and means so much.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

simba's picture
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simba commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 8:42pm

nice Zen


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sypkan commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 8:47pm

probably not that common these days zenagain, nias is very different place to what it was 10-15 years ago, but I guess if opportunity knocks...

thinking about it, it's a pretty smart scam and I probably shouldn't have given them up

you could almost argue it's a scam in sustainability

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 2:05pm

Yes, plenty of opportunists in Nias. The kids even tried to sell plastic fins, stretched leg ropes and bottles of HERMIT CRABS!

I admire their entrepreneurial spirit. Perhaps, if they were given an alternative direction to cater to the western tourists. They might thrive instead of being dislike.

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 8:48pm

yeh nice story

Rabbits68's picture
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Rabbits68 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 8:59pm

October last year in the Telos we had some locals come up to our boat & try on the turtle scam. It was quite distressing viewing I must admit. The skipper was pretty pissed off & had words with the locals. Money did change hands though.....

Crystal Clear

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 9:08pm

Extortion isn’t a new concept to humanity.

Ignore the fuckers. No emotional payout = No scam.

Rabbits68's picture
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Rabbits68 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 12:13am

Yep, all good in theory. Only problem being is that humans have these things called emotions. Hence why extortion has stood the test of time I suppose....

Crystal Clear

Jamyardy's picture
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Jamyardy commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 at 9:39pm

Certainly is sad news to hear.
I remember camping at Turtles in the mid 90's, and one night the local EPA equivalent officers were down the beach with torches. We went down for a look, and they were "protecting" the eggs that were being laid in the sand. They told us some people steal the eggs (to eat), so they have to watch over them. It was pretty cool watching the turtles shimmy up the beach a bit, dig a hole, lay the eggs and cover them over with sand before returning into the see, all the while with several humans watching on.

SoCal Steve's picture
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SoCal Steve commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 6:16am

Would love to witness that some day. Nature should flourish, uninterrupted.
People should remember, we need nature, but nature does not need us.

SoCal Steve's picture
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SoCal Steve commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 6:13am

I'm not sure how, but a clear and loud, bone-rattling message needs to be sent to the people who sacrifice nature for their disgusting, personal gain. There is nothing more horrific than seeing any kind of nature suffer on behalf of fucked up humans.
They should value their tourism, or maybe they lose it.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 4:47pm

It's a long term process and investment. It's getting better. School kids are spending part of their school hours picking up litters on the beach. Apart from awareness, there will also be capabilities building programme possibly be based on tourism so that the turtle kidnappers will potentially have a job, put food on the table and send their kids to school. Perhaps, the next generation will be different.

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dandandan commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 7:53am

I'd echo the two points others have made, good on you for doing what you felt was right, and I am glad that it worked out for you. Nias is probably the last place in the archipelago where I'd do anything like that. Horror stories abound of violence in Nias and I know several people who are traumatized by experiences there and will never go back. I wouldn't be surprised if someone here has bumped into the Kiwi couple with their young boy who spend a fair bit of time in Indo each year and heard their story about exposing a very sad and evil enterprise operating out of a losmen in the bay...

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 4:54pm

I would love to hear their story.

Nias is getting better. Opportunists are everywhere. Those who left with a bad impression of Nias should give it a go again. Perhaps, during the off season. Waves are less crowded. I guess when everyone is less hungry for waves, everyone is happy and friendly. You can have party waves with the grommets.

udo's picture
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udo commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 8:19am

A bit more on the Evil Enterprise ddd ?

# Autophagy for Health - Just do it #

dandandan's picture
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dandandan commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 8:41am

It involves foreign men - including Australians - travelling to SE Asia and paying for something abhorrent, and I imagine you can figure out the rest. From memory, the story goes that they noticed some pretty strange coming and going at one of the losmens, and walked in on it before anything happened but it was clear what was going to, tried to get an authority involved that was already in on it, they were attacked (including her being kicked in the guys while pregnant) but managed to get away and get off the island.

Not entirely related, but I do always recommend this book to people whenever Nias comes up... After the Ancestors by Andrew Beatty. He did his fieldwork there in the late 70's. It's a long read, but the short version is here:

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 4:57pm

Ooooo! That's scary!
Thanks for sharing, dandandan. I'll have a read soon.

Timmy 56's picture
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Timmy 56 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 3:16pm

I'm surprised no one has mentioned what our indigenous brothers do to turtles in nth Queensland, I'm sure the turtles in Indonesia are treated far better, there is a story on the ABC 7.30 report VIDEO: Hunting rights hide horror for dugongs, turtles (7.30).

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 5:19pm

Because we must be sensitive and tolerant to our indigenous cultural and tradition ways, which includes there traditional hunting methods. ie a quintrex tinny with a yamaha outboard, rifles etc.........

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udo commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 5:25pm

Wombat / Boulder

# Autophagy for Health - Just do it #

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 6:47pm

It's going to be interesting to see which political party first brings this up and change's the law and even more so how the Greens will react?

It's crazy that in 2020 endangered species are allowed to be hunted in the name of traditional hunting most ethic groups could say the same same goes for hunting of other protected species like whales etc.

Ive read that up north QLD they are often hunted and sold by indigenous people to some Asian groups that also enjoy turtle meat.

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 5:40pm

I should also add before I get called out as a racist prick, that I have spent years in remote communities with the T.O's in Cape York, Torres Strait Islands and Arnhem Land. I have witnessed first hand tinnies nearly sinking from so many dugong in the boat, shot, bought back for ceremonies and mostly just the ribs eaten and the rest left lying around for the camp dogs.

Turtles, (10 of them) left on the beach upside down, alive and kicking in the full sun all day to be thrown on the fire that night still alive.

All this under the guise of "traditional methods". I will and do call out that hypocrisy.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 5:56pm

Thanks for sharing, Timmy 56. I'll check out the video soon.

When I was little, my family and I travelled often. I have to admit that I ate sea turtles eggs while floating in the ocean in remote parts of Asia. At that time, the conservation law was just introduced and as little girl, I neither read law nor have any knowledge/understanding of the environmental effect. So, I am as guilty as the rest.

If it's local trade and have not been exposed to the rest of the world, it will be a challenge to change. But not impossible. Having an alternative income for the hunters might help.

Timmy 56's picture
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Timmy 56 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 9:29pm

If your squeamish please don't watch, it is human behaviour at its worst , as an animal lover I had to put my hands over my eyes, the only animals here walk on two legs.

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Timmy 56 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 3:17pm

Sorry disclaimer it is truly horrifying

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 5:16pm

Yeah Timmy that one's a fucking shocker

here's 4 minutes of it, hard to watch

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 6:43pm

Thats heavy, why don't they at least slit it's throat before cutting off its legs/flippers.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 7:04pm

Thanks for the heads-up.

I sure as hell won't be clicking on that.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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ringmaster commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 7:21pm

Was only able to watch about 1 minute of that. Disgusting, cruel and sadistic. I don't give a flying fuck how long a particular race of humans have been here. There is no way that type of 'hunting' should be legal in a so called civilised country like Australia in these times. Our piss weak politicians too gutless to act less they 'upset' a vocal minority group.
You can even hear one of the killers (ignorant piece of shit) laughing as a block of concrete is dropped on the turtles head.

Makes my fucken blood boil. Yet again proving that humans are the scum of this planet. The sooner some sort of plague wipes us out the better.

troppo dichotomy's picture
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troppo dichotomy commented Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 8:10pm

Kitty good stuff,luv your work!get up.stand up!!making the world a better place starts with u and i.
Timmy56,i was wondering if anyone was gonna go there?me dad was working up in the gulf of Carpentaria back in the mid90's.he was training a team of local rangers to manage their own parklands,establish campgrounds and park fee's,monitor the tourist so they didnt come in and over fish the Barramundi.the community was a role model of the the alcohol,traditional museum,arts and crafts,controlled their own fishing license's.
Dad sent me n some friends out with a couple rangers to a beach.upon arrival the native rangers in ranger uniforms seen turtle tracks on the sand.they proceeded to grab sticks n gab them in the sand til the sticks came up dripping wet with yolk.the rangers were ecstatic digging up the stash.i was lost for words!what could i say??white boy,white skin,i was hardly in a position to lecture natives on thousands of years of hunting and gathering!
Years down the road one of rangers went to jail after he beat down a cop who came to his place for a domestic disturbance call.another ranger the old man hired made the national news for murder.I've got more stories both good and bad from Costa Rica,Indo to Fiji.......

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 11:56am

Thanks, troppo dichotomy. That’s heart breaking. When I was little as I watched turtles lay eggs on a beach, my mum told me that the turtles were crying because they were sad for the future of the young ones. I think she made up some parts of it...

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 12:07am

Great story & awareness all round...
What the crew inform of 100% Oz turtle hunting is correct.
1993 Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act. (Protects Turtles!)
1993 Native Title Act protects Aborigines (Spiritual hunting of traditional subsistence)

These freedoms were trade offs for pending land claims
RSPCA are fine if it's humane & not endangered species.

This is a huge win for the Coastal environment if Aborigines need to resource food.
Meaning they must restore coastline to pristine state in order to survive off land.
This means fast tracking of Coastal Cleanups & less toxic releases into our seas.

Few care about plastic in turtles but same plastic in First Peoples guts is an outrage.
Once an Island or Estuary is sustainable it's gazetted NP / MP > WH protection.
Moreton + North/South Straddie Islands are heading for WH status. ( A good thing! )

Up until 1970's Turtles hatched on several Gold Coast Beaches.
Here's how Gold Coast dealt with it! (Think Aborigines are cruel then don't read on.)
1) Goldie ran nets around the perimeter to catch them out.(Many drowned trapped)
2) City Length 50 story embankment of lights dazed & confused the turtles
3) Peak laying Season Council rewards locals to crank up Xmas Lights to blind them.
4) We constructed a 20ft high coastline rockwall to stop them digging up our beaches
5) GCCC patrol any gaps with Bulldozers...there's one now..."Let's do the crunch!"
6) The non-lit Dunes are Dog Beaches, they sniff & dig up any eggs & chew off bits.
7) Mayor plans to glow a CST+ 12 Story Cruises at royally dedicated turtle outpost.
The very minute SLSA Patron Prince Philip is out of the way so to our turtle problem.

Took some effort but Gold Coast can finally cross off turtles from our endangered list.
RSPCA: "Great Turtle Extinction Guys, very sportsmanlike...Really Stokeded!"

[WARNING] Footnote has a huge ugly kicker...
Which SLSA vice Patron profits from Royal's death to hail as new King of Oz Surf ?
That's it let it all out, don't get it in yer hair...he's not worth it...wanna have a lie down.

Well done on the Date - Australia Day! SMOKO does his dirty work in off season!

Timmy 56's picture
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Timmy 56 commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 12:09am

I find it hard to understand your formatted posts , but are you saying what the gold coast council did is worse than hacking off their flippers while they are alive, whilst previously being skewered to a stake for a couple of days awaiting tortured death. Excuse me if I'm mistaken . Hope we can clean up our own backyard before thowing stones, as previously mentioned by another contributor.

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Roystein commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 3:34pm

Read them real slow Timmy, honestly they are full of insight and detail. Just have to slow down to let the working memory keep up (not being snide here, same for all)

Kitty Putresuod's picture
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Kitty Putresuod commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 12:06pm

Thanks, truebluebasher.
Those efforts in the Gold Coast is truly horrifying!

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truebluebasher commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 12:19pm

Timmy 56...Yes! Much worse, as Gold Coast has no desire to allow turtles to co exist.
GCCC view them as a novelty but first and always as a pest. Whereas other equally sick or more depraved scammers have a heart of gold, wishing Turtle population to thrive. GC refuse to entertain such loving gestures...They, the turtles are outta here!

As we (GC) knowingly increased the slaughter until the complete extermination of the local population....we all know exactly what we did last summer and already excuse it in triplicate. This hurts a lot, owning up to the fact that one's own generation & town are the biggest turtle murderers on the Planet.

Drowning, trapped in a net while every sea creatures eats you alive. Our Govt are alone in the world, in arguing that it's cool to hang Turtles rotting on hooks dying of infection. Qld Govt recently, mind you, unashamedly lost a court case on these GBR murders. Mass Turtle netting & bait hook murders is business as usual in our City.
(Pause)..... tbb Salutes kindhearted locals who paddle & dive to release Turtles on a daily basis...some of these rescuers are well into their senior years & don't own flash Jetskis...(Dead set Legends)

The Spit 5km Pet Dog's gaming reserve surrounding Seaworld Rescue as Federation Park Marine Ranger. The Spit is free of massive seaside lighting banks & Oceanside Rockwalls. Note: GCCC knowing full well that this is the last outpost for GC mainland Turtles & even educate as such, yet rezone it as largest ever off leash Dog Park.
Note: (Swap Sharks with Dogs) No ones taking GCCC to court!
As said the free roaming dogs dig up nests & flip and chew the turtles again dying as they're being eaten...common sadistic theme for turtle torture in our city.

Threading both Dog hunting reserve & hi-rise resorts is Philip Park. High sand Dunes + No lighting a perfect albeit small oasis for the last half eaten, beaten & battered dying turtles.
Mayor..."Tell the Prince to hurry up & die so we can steal his Turtle Park!"
Federal Govt (Fellow Libs) have already approved EIS for a CST / 12 story floating light bank. Despite Scottish Prince Marine Park being directly offshore. Cruise ships can hose down norovirus on city's only protected turtle habitat ($m crime) rather than contaminate local East Coast Ports. (Basically a Fun Ship Servo & Detox Marine Park!)

Gold Coast fence & mesh all Sand Dunes ensuring that Turtles can't nest. (True!)
Do we need to recap the Bulldozer mincing & backing over Turtles or being hoovered by the daily sand Tractor blades over the length of the beaches. Comes as no surprise as most Gold Coast turtles actually die from fishing hooks/lines/plastic & propeller blades in Oz busiest waterway.
Kill Kill Kill...Die Die Die...feisty little bastards chip the propeller blades they do.

tbb is not sure of the quota to attain Mass Turtle Murderers Title but I doubt any compete with our city. Sadly! We all know it's true & unashamedly argue it's our right to exterminate turtles & other slow defenceless lifeforms that get in our way...
[Whole world says stop the slaughter] Qld Govt says ...Fuck You & Fuck the Turtles!

PS: Not sure how to react if another town or City were to challenge Gold Coast for the title...does one laugh or cry or even loose a sense of home town pride...pretty sure Our Mayor would tweak the Council Chrissie lights up a notch...Our city goes spazz over world records & will claim back our it serves no purpose for anyone else to even try killing more turtles, even if that were possible, which it isn't!

Hey Clown! Glow down in Turtle Town!

Being a School Holiday's weekend & being a Turtle Story entitles a Happy Ending...
Not saying we're going soft on turtles...

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 3:12pm

I don't know if any of that is true, but you cant compare the past to present, you need to compare the present to the present.

If today a turtle laid eggs on a Google Coast beach and authority's knew, they would dig up the eggs and move to a safe location like a remote area of South Straddie etc.

And if anyone other than authorities dug up the eggs or messed with hatched turtles or bigger turtles they would risk being charged.

But i doubt turtles would lay eggs on Gold Coast beach's these days because of all the lights.

BTW. the fact turtles face things like dying because of plastic is even more reason why traditional hunting rights for Turtles should obviously be abolished.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 3:35pm

TBH Indo, I don't actually believe it should be abolished. It is an integral part of their heritage and culture, particularly around ceremonies and sorry business. I think there has to be tightening of regulations around the method of capture, the quantity caught for consumption and the humane disposal of how they are handled.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 5:10pm

Personally im not into culture as an excuse, if every culture that hunted protected/endangered animals used that as an excuse then we would all be hunting protected/endangered animals.

IMHO one law and rule for all people in any country, no matter heritage or skin colour or how long your ancestors have been there.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 9:59am

To be fair, almost all of the animals currently listed as threatened in Australia have only been in serious decline in the last 150 years - prior to colonization, they existed in far greater numbers. The biggest causes are landclearing for agriculture, landclearing for urbanisation, and native forest logging. Landclearing for developments and landclearing for agriculture (mostly beef production) are the primary causes for the declining koala population, and kills some 60 million native animals every year. It's pretty much impossible to compare the very little pressure put on populations of various species by small scale traditional hunting (which is often cruel - along with almost all killing of animals for food), with the modern Australian culture of clearing away nature for profit and property.

As for laws, I wish they bloody worked too! Native forest logging, one of the primary extinction pressures for scores of species on the continent, is officially exempt from the national environment law (EPBC act). In the 20 years that we've had the EPBC act, nothing has improved. Almost all animals officially recognised as endangered have no recovery plans in place, and the current government is currently reviewing the EPBC act in order to water it down even further. It's a complete shit show.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 1:28pm

I get that, but if you allow hunting of endangered species under the idea of traditional hunting (which is not done in a traditional manner anyway)

Imagine if all other cultures that hunted turtles and dugongs did the same thing, for example most coastal community's in Indonesia have always eaten turtle or their eggs to some extent.

Or how can we critique Japan for hunting whales?

Sure their methods are in no way traditional but neither is hunting turtles from a tinny with an outboard.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 2:45pm

Agree with your post DDD, though I'd like to point out that early accounts of kanguru were quite rare as it was very efficiently hunted. Now the roos are in very healthy numbers. An outlier, perhaps.

jayet-010's picture
jayet-010's picture
jayet-010 commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 4:46pm

Personally I found your writing style overly colourful and somewhat condescending. Maybe if you presented the information more objectively I would be more willing to offer my support. My 2c.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 12:13pm

Thanks for your comment, jayet-010. I keep it in mind.
I’m sure that there are reports available. Let me know if you are interested.

jayet-010's picture
jayet-010's picture
jayet-010 commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 10:43pm

Thanks Kitty, links to peer reviewed or other science is always appreciated.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020 at 1:10am

Research (go to Riset - Penemuan):

They are very active and helpful. You might want to contact them for such documents.

Turtle conservation projects (in English):

Legal documents:


In 2016, turtle products being promoted:

They are mostly in Indonesian. Google Translate might help. Happy Reading!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020 at 6:24pm

swellnet crew dedicate Qld Turtle History to Kitty Putresuod (Thanx for caring & sharing!)
Qld Turtle timeline is exclusive to #1 swellnet...

1842 M Bay free settlement drives Saltwater crew from water launch access points

1883 A monster 6ft long Turtle was the By-catch while netting Dugong.|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840

1895 Turtle Soup (2lbs)... 'Caught on The Great Barrier Reef'|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=84
Made from the finest kind of Green Turtle

1900's- Live Turtle Export Trade
1909- First Frozen Turtle Shipments = 23 Turtles per cargo Ship|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840|||l-decade=191|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840|||l-decade=191

1920 Turtles by Train to Brisbane Cannery / Markets (Likely earlier than this date)|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840|||l-decade=192

1920's > Turtles suckled the bait spending more time on the hook so were caught often.
Thru-out the Following years (1930's onwards Fishing Comps would often snag one)

1923 The new sport of Turtle Surfing gets it's name from riding a Surfboard.|||sortby=dateAsc

1930's Hot Chix Turtle Surfing Era ...(Post Labour Turtle is not quite exhausted enough!)
Qldurr Femlins can surf their Turtle to freedom or it's sent to the cannery. ('It's a living!')
Wahines get their he-men to flip & rein in the turtle .(Qldurr will give free surf tips 1-3)
Take off is up in the dunes then down to surf line then out to sea as best you can!
1) Note chick at far right in nesting Take off zone is ready to Pro Surf (Upright)
2) This Chick grabs a gopro selfie as she hit's the line-up.
3) Defending Pro Turtle Surfer on ride of the day...this chick can surf...real good!

1947 Chix Turtle Surfing Tour event on Sunny Coast|||l-title=672|||sortby=dateAsc
1950's Qld Turtle Surfing Colour Promo...bound to be a pineapple somewhere!

1934 Point Lookout is described as a rare Turtle's Haven|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840|||l-decade=193

* Large Turtles were still caught but also unusual prized Trophy Shells > (Pub Walls)
The spoils of companion local Fishing Comps as mentioned earlier...

1937 Market Price 26s 6d for 354 lb (Avg large GC Turtle)> (Today - $215)
1940 Glass Bottom boats show Turtles thru Tourist's eyes|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-title=840
1949 SC Bulletin Childrens Corner Letter(1) Paul Dennis 12 wins a Prize (Turtle Riding)|||l-title=672|||sortby=dateAsc

1940's-50's Sand mining < Byron to Straddie > is silent on all Turtle hatcheries.
Not unusual to hush up, along with Aboriginal bones & ancient Rock arrangements
Sand mining & Turtles were after exact same elevated Soft Sand Dunes. (Who won!)
Brat Era
1950- SC Bulletin 'Children's Corner' Letter (2) Paul Dennis 13 wins another Prize. (Edit)
"After the Eels have been caught the Turtles come. They are easy to pull in we cut off their heads and throw them back in to feed the fish!"|||l-title=672|||sortby=dateAsc
1952 Southport SLSC Carnival (Large inshore game Turtle is noted during day/crowd 10,000?)
Serious & desperate public act by the Mother Turtle mid Mining/Erosion Era (Rare report!)
1960's Brats got Ads on backs of comics as such...Be a real boy & poach'n'poke a Pet Turtle

Yer Uncles manky Pet Turtle Pool was resourced by 3 eyed brat cousins with a bucket.

1968 Qld becomes world's first jurisdiction to protect Turtles

1970's Latchkey Kids would pash & Spottie Night Turtles in local Dunes.
1970's Rockwalls were replacing Nesting Dunes + Shark Nets + Hi-Rise lights
1980's Urbanised Gold Coast no longer supports Turtle Nesting
1980's-90's Beach Pumping was the norm & Silted all inshore Reefs
1993 Enviro / Native + Moreton Bay (Protection Rights Acts)
1999 Marine Turtles are declared an Endangered Species
2000 Tweed Bypass & Creek pumps smother near all inside reef habitat.
2003 Joint Fed NSW/Qld 'Recovery Plan' is reviewed in 2013
2005 Anti Predator Mesh Trials on Sunshine Coast Turtle Nests
2009 Pacific Adventurer Oil Spill...race is on to save hatchlings.
2010 GC Dog Beaches bully last Spit Dunes + Dune-care fence out the rest
2013 Recovery Plan is to be 'remade'. re: 2016 (draft) reclassified > 2017
2015 Sand Pumping backdown sees Reefs & Turtle resources slowly restock.
2015 Rising Heat is boiling Qld Turtles in Nests (Southern Migration)
2016 Da Boyz go Turtle Surfin'...
2016 Alby sends world crazy like Migaloo ...Albino Turtle hatches on Sunshine Coast
2017 -2027 Recovery Plan from 2003(review)2013/16 Draft >(2017 legislated- link is here!)
Note: Quality content is ignored in examples + Maps lack East Coast > South migration detail
2018 Turtles vs 4WD at clutch point (crunch!) ...Climate war over last grain of sand
2000-2020 (Qld has lost 50% -80% of Loggerhead Turtle population)

Note: North & South of Gold Coast paints a more caring picture, but not for long.
Hot Turtles must push south into upzoned whiteshoe beach frontages or perish.

PS (Qld Turtle Hunting)
Local Saltwater Crew hunted & ate Turtle-1825 >1842 + 1993 > 2020 (Total - 44yrs)
New settlers hunted & ate Turtle-1825 > 1968 (Total -143 yrs) One Century longer!

Thanx for caring, see other exclusive #1 swellnet 2019 Timelines - Oz Whale Strandings...
Kindhearted swellnet crew have been rewarded a Deluxe Qld timeline upgrade...Thank You!

Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020 at 1:16am

I'm seriously loving your educational comments.

adambol1's picture
adambol1's picture
adambol1 commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 2:32pm

Proving cruelty is universal, either present in someone else or hidden in others' past

If it was easy eveyone would do it.

Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod's picture
Kitty Putresuod commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 12:15pm

I agree. Time to look forward to, hopefully, a better future.

A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 2:46pm

Thanks tbb

1950's Qld Turtle Surfing Colour Promo...bound to be a pineapple somewhere!

With the Dept of the Interior providing helpful Turtle Surfing advice as well.

F M D.

spencie's picture
spencie's picture
spencie commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 6:56pm

To add to some of the comments rer North Qld; my eldest son was running the airport at Bamaga for several years and was able to witness quite a few instances of dugong meat being offered around the pub/s in the area. No one was game to risk causing offence so the practice continues to this day. Probably could add turtles, etc to the list.


zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 7:21pm

I was in that pub- I just said sorry mate, I don't do gong and left it at that.

(Boom tish)

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 7:23pm

You should see the traditional food they were trying to sell at a pub in the New Guinea highlands.

Still not sure just what “ long pig “ is.....but it tastes superb !

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 7:29pm

"Still not sure just what “ long pig “ is.....but it tastes superb !"

Boom, boom.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 8:25am

Geez TBB you are one hell of a researcher.

Wave of the day to TBB !!!

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 8:53am

If dugongs and turtles can't go about there business unimpeded by humans and humans lack empathy towards these creatures, why bother wasting precious oxygen on voicing climate change solutions?

Fuck me...beating a turtle flapping around on its back with a rock. Come on people!

Timmy 56's picture
Timmy 56's picture
Timmy 56 commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 4:59pm

My sentiments exactly Remigogo , thank you for being precise and to the point.