Garuda Indonesia Facilitating the Repatriation of the Snake-Neck Turtle Rote from Singapore

Jakarta, 24 September 2021 – The national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia supports the repatriation process of 13 (thirteen) Rote-necked turtles (Chelodina mccordi). This iconic-endemic animal from Rote Island, Rote Ndao Regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) was transported from Singapore to Kupang via Jakarta using an extra cargo flight on Wednesday (22/9), then continued with regular flights to Kupang on Thursday (23/9).

The CEO of Garuda Indonesia Irfan Setiaputra explained, "It is a matter of pride for Garuda Indonesia as a national flag carrier to be able to support the Government's ongoing commitment through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia (KLHK) regarding efforts to preserve protected animals in Indonesia through the provision of air transportation services to return these endemic animals to their habitat."

"This repatriation process has an important meaning not only in terms of the conservation efforts of the Rote-necked Tortoise which is a protected and endangered animal species but also as a representation of the sustainable collaboration of environmental conservation ecosystems in which the accessibility of air transportation plays a crucial role in the implementation process. "said Irfan.

The snake neck turtle repatriation process, which consisted of 6 male turtles and 7 female turtles, departed from Singapore on Wednesday (22/9) at 22:45 local time using an Airbus A330-300 (GA 8374) fleet and arrived in Jakarta. at 23.40 WIB, then departed for Kupang on Thursday (23/9) using a Boeing 737-800NG (GA 448) at 07.30 WIB and arrived at 13.05 WITA.

In its implementation, Garuda Indonesia has carried out intensive coordination with KLHK regarding the readiness of all required documents and transportation procedures, which refers to international regulations, namely the International Air Transport Association (IATA) along with quarantine and customs regulations in Indonesia.

Garuda Indonesia has also prepared supporting infrastructure such as a live animal room for the animals during transit in Jakarta along with procedures for checking and health care carried out by quarantine and animal health officers before leaving for the destination city, Kupang. Where then the Rote Tortoise will undergo an adaptation process for some time to come before being released into its natural habitat.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of Ecosystem Natural Resources Conservation (KSDAE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ir. Wiratno stated that “We appreciate Garuda Indonesia's full support for this repatriation process. This process is the first step in restoring the Rote Tortoise population in its natural habitat, as well as showing that species conservation is of concern to the international community.”

This Rote tortoise is the result of rearing at the Singapore Wildlife Reserves Singapore/Mandai Nature Conservation Institute which comes from breeding results from American and European zoos that are part of the European Association of Zoo and Aquaria (EAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

This species is one of 25 species of turtles in Indonesia and the most endangered in the world. The threat status of the Rote Tortoise according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is critical (CR-Critically endangered), even this organization estimates that there is a possibility that the Rote Tortoise is extinct in the wild. Therefore, this species is included in the list of the National Species Conservation Strategic Directions 2008-2018 and is designated as a protected species based on the Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Number 106 of 2018.

Irfan further explained, "Through this repatriation flight, we certainly hope that this joint effort can encourage the achievement of the fundamental goal of an important step to bring back endemic animals to their habitat, namely increasing the population of Snake-necked Tortoises in Indonesia as a form of heritage diversity. nature of the archipelago," concluded Irfan.