Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos confirmed it is the first time a turtle has laid her eggs on Phuket shores this year.
The turtle had come ashore around 11pm on Thursday and was spotted by a witness, Mr Wichai Phonrob, who alerted officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
The officials soon found the turtle who had crawled further up the beach away from the water to dig a pit in the sand to lay her eggs.
Officials confirmed she started laying her eggs around 9:23pm last night, concluding the spawning process around 12:28am this morning. Once she had concluded laying the eggs, the mother turtle returned to the ocean although officials did manage to safely take her measurements before she disappeared, confirming a body length of 1.2 metres, a body width of 75cm and a body weight of 100 kilogrammes.
After checking the nest, officials confirmed that there was a total of 125 fertile eggs which were since reloacted to a local research centre for incubation and to afford a greater probability of survival.
Mayor Solos was delighted with the news and successful outcome, posting clips of the incident on social media which many residents shared and commented positively on.
He added that the general condition and health of the environment and natural resources had drastically improved in the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic with a significant cut in tourist numbers and associated pollution levels.
There were numerous cases of turtles returning to Phuket’s shores in the past 18 months to lay their eggs. Eight hatchlings from the first olive ridley turtle nest known to be laid on Mai Khao Beach in 20 years hatched and were released to the sea last April and the case of a “supermum” turtle last February who had laid four separate nests delighted Marine wildlife officers.
There were many other instances during the period where tourism slowed as COVID allowed wildlife a much needed breather.
“Their nesting has improved in the last two years thanks to the absence of tourists, noise and light pollution,” Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center, told AFP last month.
“We had never seen such a number in 20 years.”