87 rare green turtles, some believed to be hundreds of years old, were released back into the seas surrounding the island of Bali. The turtles, now free again, were seized by Bali's Water Police during the course of a raid on turtle smugglers.
Hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists witnessed the re-release program with many joining the police in placing the rare reptiles back into the Kuta surf on Thursday, November 18, 2010.
According to Bisnis Bali, one Dutch tourist, impatient that the turtles were being kept too long in the hot sun waiting the arrival of Bali's police chief General Hadiatmoko, began unilaterally carrying turtles from the waiting truck into the nearby sea.
The release of all the seized turtles quickly took place with some of the larger animals requiring as many as four people to lift them across the beach.
General Hadiatmoko told those attending the release ceremony that the smuggling of turtles is a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in prison. Pointing out that some of the turtles were aged between 100 and 150 years. The General also estimate that the value of the turtles on the black market was Rp. 500 million (US$54,400).
The turtles released on November 18th were confiscated by the police one day before from a local Sulawesi ship - KM Cahaya Rahmat in a raid conducted approximately 9 miles off shore from Karangasem, Bali
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