Indonesian police seize 71 endangered giant turtles from market storehouse in Bali

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police have confiscated 71 endangered giant sea turtles from a food stall on the resort island of Bali, an officer said Wednesday.

The owner of the stall was arrested when the giant green turtles, named chelonia mydas, were found inside his storehouse in Denpasar, chief detective Col. Andi Taqdir Rahmantiro said.

Rahmantiro said the stall owner told police he purchased the turtles, with an average size of more than 3.3 feet (one meter), from fishermen who caught them in waters off Sulawesi island.

Turtle meat is a traditional delicacy in the predominantly Hindu province of Bali, although Indonesia has banned turtle trade and consumption due to concerns about dwindling numbers and threats by animal welfare groups of a tourist boycott of Bali.

Turtles are among several protected species in Indonesia, a vast nation of 17,000 islands.