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Live online CCTV watches over leatherback turtle nest

Live online CCTV watches over leatherback turtle nest

PHUKET: A series of CCTV cameras have been installed at Thai Mueang Beach, north of Phuket in Phang Nga province, to protect a leatherback sea turtle nest, with the cameras broadcasting online 24 hours a day.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 27 November 2019, 08:00AM

The cameras were installed to prevent people from stealing the turtle eggs or disturbing the nest in any other way, explained Khao Lampi - Hat Thai Mueang National Park Chief Haritchai Rittichuay.

Six cameras have been installed. Live footage can be viewed at http://loveseaturtle.dmcr.go.th/

The nest contains 85 eggs laid by a large leatherback sea turtle on Thai Mueang Beach on Nov 17.

The eggs were removed from the original nest dug on the beach by the large leatherback – nearly two metres long, weighing about 200 kilograms and estimated to be more than 25 years old – and taken into care so they could be kept in ideal conditions to hatch in about 55 to 60 days. (See story here.)

The eggs were moved to a new nest dug by park officials on the beach in front of the national park office so officers could keep an eye on them, explained Chief Haritchai.

“We built a bamboo frame over the nest to protect the eggs and a fence to keep people out of the area. People must stay away from the nest because the eggs may not hatch if they are disturbed,” he explained.

More officers have been put on duty to protect the nest and to patrol the beach 24 hours a day, Chief Haritchai said.

“We believe that the leatherback turtle will come back to lay more eggs over the next 15 days. We ask people to stay away from the beach from 4:30pm to 8am in case she comes back again,” he added.

Chief Haritchai urged anyone who sees a turtle laying eggs on a beach in the area to report it by calling his office at 076-679134.

Thai Residential

“Or call me at 081-6199962 so we can quickly go to protect the eggs and take care of them,” he said.

The nest has gained specific attention from wildlife officers in Bangkok, with Sophon Thongdee, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, visiting the now-protected nest last Saturday (Nov 23).

“This is the second consecutive year that we have found a sea turtle laying eggs on a beach in Phang Nga after disappearing for a long time,” Mr Sophon said.

“This nest is believed to be the first eggs laid by this turtle this year, we believe there is a chance that the turtle will return to lay eggs two more times,” he said.

“Therefore we call on all parties to work together in case the turtle does return, including having regular patrols in areas where turtles are known to have laid their eggs.

“Most important is that the nest is not disturbed in the first six hours after the eggs have been laid. Officers may have to seal off the area to make sure the nest is not disturbed. After thatm they may have to move the eggs to make sure they are kept safe,” he added.

Meanwhile, further north near the coast off the Similan Islands in Kuraburi district, tourists caught a glimpse of some 40 spinner dolphins riding the waves.

Lertsak Ponklin, Manager of Wow Andaman tours, credited the return of the pod of dolphins to the improving environmental conditions in the area, and especially to the Mu Ko Similan National Park being closed for five months each year to allow the local marine eco-system to recover from the effects of tourism.

“We constantly reminds tour guides to tell tourists not to feed or touch dolphins and other sea creatures, to help ensure a healthy marine ecosystem, because everyone must contribute to protecting the natural environment,” he said.

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