Pig-nosed Turtles Repatriated to Indonesia in 2011

On the 12th January 2011, the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR government intercepted an illegal import of 786 Pig-nosed Turtles (Carettochelys insculpta), a protected species in Indonesia. The shipment was hidden amongst live cargo declared as seafood.   

The animals were transferred to the Rescue Centre on 14th January 2011, by the authorities.  The decision to pursue a repatriation option for the turtles following CITES guidelines, was arrived at after consultations between the AFCD and KFBG. A partnership with International Animal Rescue (IAR), Indonesia, facilitated liaising with the Indonesian Government.

Funding support came from Cathay Pacific Airlines, AFCD and KFBG. The 609 Pig-nosed Turtles that had survived from the original seizure left on the 5th October for Indonesian Papua and were successfully released in the upper reaches of the Maro River at Bupul village.  This repatriation project highlights the importance of close co-operation between governments and non-government organizations, as well as community involvement in carrying out international wildlife conservation programmes. 

KFBG Blog: Going Home: Six hundred Pig-nosed Turtles return to their native habitat

A Significant Turtle Confiscation Occurred in 2001

Our largest single rescue operation happened in December 2001, when the Rescue Centre received over 8,000 Asian freshwater turtles. The turtles were seized by the authorities while being shipped, illegally, from Malaysia to China, and were likely to be heading for the food markets of Southern China. About 4,500 of these turtles survived and were eventually placed in good homes around the world. The seizure and subsequent rescue effort became world news.

Reports were made by the Humane Society International (Australia), World Society for the Protection of Animals, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Washington Post and the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as local and regional press.