Officers at Khao Lampi Hat-Thai Muang National Park in Phang Nga were patrolling the beach when they found the large mother turtle clambering ashore some eight kilometres north of the main park office, explained Park Chief Haritchai Rittichuay.
The site was about 1.3km north of the nest laid on Thai Muang Beach on Jan 31, he added.
The turtle’s shell was 150cm long and 100cm across, he added.
The nest was laid in the sand above the high-tide mark, Mr Haritchai noted.
“The nest will not be moved and the eggs allowed to incubate naturally, which is expected to take 55-60 days,” he said.
A bamboo pen has been erected around the nest to protect it from natural predators and officers have been tasked with ensuring that the nest is not disturbed, he added.
Prarop Plangngarn, Chief of the Phuket Marine National Park Operations Center 2, based at Sirinath Marine National Park, noted that the nest laid last night was the 18th turtle nest discovered during the current turtle nesting season.
“The size of the turtle last night is similar to the one that laid a nest at Kata Beach on Jan 1,” he said.
Officers believe that the nest at Kata Beach was the first laid by the turtle, and the nest laid last night was the fifth nest laid by the same turtle this year, he added.
The Kata Beach nest remains protected by marine park officers, and is expected to hatch on Feb 25 or in the days immediately after.
Officers have set up a protective enclosure around the next, and an information centre to educate local residents and visitors about the importance of protecting marine life.