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Phang Nga breaks record for endangered leatherback turtle hatchlings
NationalJan 26. 2021Photos: Facebook @DMCRTH
By THE NATION
A record number of leatherback turtles have hatched in Phang Nga province as the endangered species makes a dramatic comeback on southern beaches.
Marine biologist Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat said 78 leatherback hatchlings had emerged from their nest on Bang Kwan Beach in Phang Nga province on Monday night.
“With the 305 baby turtles born earlier, we have now seen 383 leatherback hatchlings walk into the sea this season – higher than last season’s tally of 351,” he said. “This is also the highest number in the past 10 years, and it will keep growing until the season ends, as we have eggs in nine more nests waiting to hatch.”
The turtles’ egg-laying season lasts from October until March. Thon said pregnant turtles will lay eggs in a few more nests on the beach before this season ends.
Leatherbacks are protected under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, but egg-laying turtles had disappeared from Phang Nga’s beaches until six years ago.
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has taken measures to protect the turtles on the beach, erecting fences, monitoring nests with CCTV, and deploying patrols to ensure turtles are not disturbed.
“I want to thank everyone involved in this achievement, including the Natural Resources minister, the department chief, Phang Nga’s governor, department officials and volunteers, as well as everybody who kept the beach clean of plastic waste, which has helped bring the turtles back,” said Thon.
“This is undoubtedly the greatest marine achievement in Thailand that I have seen in my 30 years of working in the field.”