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Lack of tourists sees return of endangered sea turtles to Koh Samui

Jack Burton

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Lack of tourists sees return of endangered sea turtles to Koh Samui | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s ebach resorts maybe bereft of tourists, but another population is making a comeback: endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles are returning in droves. This year, as the Covid-19 pandemic emptied the nation of tourists, nests on Koh Samui in the southern Surat Thani province have burgeoned. Since February, some 838 baby turtles have scuttled their way across the island’s beaches and into the sea, with 2 nests still to hatch. According to Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean at the faculty of fisheries at Kasetsart University in Bangkok:

“It is really exciting and we hope that people in Samui will help us protect the turtles in the future – we have a chance.”

Locals and businesses alike have rallied to protect the nests, building bamboo fences around them to shield them from roaming water lizards and dogs. Some have camped beside nests in hopes of seeing the babies hatch, or spotting a mother turtle, who usually returns after 10 or 12 days to lay more eggs. 1 hotel ordered its security teams to keep a watchful eye, visit every hour, and redirect CCTV and motion sensors to make sure the eggs were not disturbed.

Female sea turtles typically nest every 2-3 years, using their flippers to dig a teardrop shaped cavity in the sand, and laying 80-120 leathery eggs, usually at night. A marine biologist working at the Banyan Tree resort, where a single green turtle laid 5 nests this year, said:

“They look for areas that are calm and peaceful. We try to grow banyan plants, because normally they love the trees because of the shade.”

It’s not clear whether turtles that may have been put off from nesting on crowded Samui beaches in the past might have travelled elsewhere to nest. It’s possible that they released the eggs in the water, and they failed to hatch, says Thon.

“The eggs inside the sea turtle cannot wait. It’s like humans: if you need to give birth, you will give birth in the taxi.”

The number of sea turtles in Thailand’s waters has fallen drastically over the past century. Samui was a completely different place 50 years ago; it was only wooden forests, coconut farms and there was no road. Now, in a good year, the island has more than 2 million visitors. It’s not just the development of beaches that poses a threat to turtles: other dangers include poaching, pollution and fishing nets.

Around the world, the future of the turtles and other marine life is increasingly threatened by climate change, as hotter temperatures contribute to rising sea levels and storms, changing ocean currents and harming the coral reefs which many depend on for survival. There is also growing concern about the impact of global warming on the gender ratio of turtles: the warmer the sand eggs are buried in, the more likely the offspring will be female.

In Thailand, conservationists are finding new ways to monitor the turtles. In recent months, the Phuket Marine Biological Centre tracked a hawksbill mother turtle that laid eggs on Samui in an attempt to discover more about how her route can be better protected. The centre’s director says:

“If you want to conserve any animal you have to know their life cycle and habitat.”

Facial recognition technology that identifies turtles is being developed. It’s hoped this will help generate more accurate estimates of numbers, as turtles are difficult to count due to their migration patterns.
The number of nests reported on Samui this year is by far the highest of any year on record, though reports only date back to 2012. No one knows what will happen when the island sees the return of tourists, which so many businesses depend upon.

Thon hopes a balance can be struck. The pandemic has shown that Samui is an important nesting ground for the species, and the break in tourism caused by the pandemic is a chance to act, he says.

“We have to.”

SOURCE: The Guardian

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Koh Samui. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jay

    August 21, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Don’t want to be finicky, but why there is a picture of a Ladderback sea turtle on the top of the article but the article is about Hawskbill and Green turtles?!

    • Avatar

      Jay

      August 21, 2020 at 3:13 pm

      Sorry, typo mistake, I meant Leatherback turtle!

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      August 21, 2020 at 10:36 pm

      Yes you are right Jay that picture is not a Green Turtle and not a Hawksbill turtle.
      Could it be that Dr Thon has his turtles mixed up?
      Or could it be the photograph is a fraud.
      Maybe because there are two different colour of sand. Is this where they put two pictures together?

  2. Avatar

    Luigi

    August 21, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    it seems that all problems are caused by tourists

    • Avatar

      Solaris

      August 21, 2020 at 9:43 pm

      Now the turtles will pay hotels, restaurants, professional night workers and jet ski scammers, and everybody will finally be happy on the island.

  3. Avatar

    Caroliña

    August 21, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    ebach resorts or beach resorts? A nice article nevertheless and happy for the sea turtles, even though it happens when the tourism and aviation industry is suffering.

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Thailand

Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School | The Thaiger
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The Thailand Post is going to turn its parcel cardboard boxes and paper envelopes into tables and chairs for students at the Border Patrol Police School. The postal service says they’ve already received 10,000 kilograms of used boxes and envelopes for the upcycling project.

People can send used parcel boxes and envelopes back to Thailand Post to be collected for the furniture project. President of the postal service Korkij Danchaivichit says discounts and promotions are offered through the 9.9 online shopping campaign which promotes the reuse of the packages. He says some local online marketers have already hopped on board.

“It is a win-win situation for all… First of all, suppliers use compostable paper parcels that are eco-friendly; also 9.9 online shopping enhances the economy, and finally, we (Post Office) get to collect the reusable paper parcels and turn them into furniture to supply schools.”

The campaign ends on October 31. Korkij says he’d like to invite more people, online retailers and businesses to send back their used parcel boxes and envelopes.

SOURCES:Xinhua| Nation Thailand

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Environment

Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists

Caitlin Ashworth

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Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists | The Thaiger
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Alcohol is now banned at national parks after tourists allegedly got drunk at a waterfall and others left a load of trash by their campsite. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has updated other park rules to make sure parks are kept clean and the wildlife isn’t disturbed.

Just last week, trash left at a campsite at Khao Yai National Park was boxed up in a parcel and sent back to the campers. Thailand’s Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa says he will blacklist certain tourists from national parks if they litter or cause damage to protected areas.

“We kindly ask every tourist to put garbage in the provided areas because the garbage that you left may kill wild animals that come down around the area looking for food. In this case, we purposefully collected all your rubbish in a box and sent them to your home as a souvenir as a lesson to not litter anywhere ever again.”

Other tourists were allegedly drunk and making a lot of noise at the Namtok Samlan National Park, Varawut says. He says both groups of tourists face charges for their actions.

Here are some of the revised rules…

  • Alcohol is banned at national parks for the time being
  • Loud noise is not allowed after 9pm and noise must be stopped at 10pm
  • When renting a tent, tourists must provide identification, address and phone number

“Those who break the rules will be asked to leave and may face legal actions as well as being banned from other national parks. Camping equipment can also be confiscated.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Posted by TOP Varawut – ท็อป วราวุธ ศิลปอาชา on Friday, September 18, 2020

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World

Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50%

Caitlin Ashworth

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Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50% | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Alexander Popov

The richest people in the world, who make up just 1% of the population, are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions. A study shows that the “1 percenters” make up twice as much carbon pollution than the poorest half of the world. Some say the poor are the least responsible for climate change, but have to deal with most of the negative consequences.

In a 25 year study led by Oxfam, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute found that wealthy countries were responsible for using up nearly a third of the Earth’s carbon budget. The study was conducted from 1990 to 2015, when annual emissions grew by 60%.

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.

63 million people made up the richest 1% of the world. Since 1990, they have been responsible for 9% of the ‘carbon budget’. The carbon budget is the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that can go into the air before temperature rises to catastrophic levels. 3.1 billion people make up the poorest half of the world’s population. The carbon emissions growth rate of the rich 1% was 3 times more than the poorest half of the world.

There’s not just an economic inequality between the rich and the poor, according to the head of policy, advocacy and research, Tim Gore. He told AFP the research shows the world’s “carbon inequality.”

“It’s not just that extreme economic inequality is divisive in our societies, it’s not just that it slows the rate of poverty reduction …But there is also a third cost which is that it depletes the carbon budget solely for the purpose of the already affluent growing their consumption … And that of course has the worse impacts on the poorest and least responsible.”

Carbon emissions have decreased since the pandemic. But just a few months doesn’t take away the damage that has been done for years. Temperatures are still on track to rise several degrees this century. Although the 2015 Paris climate deal was set to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels, emissions have continued to increase.

“It’s clear that the carbon intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity… It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that we have to choose between economic growth and fixing the climate crisis.”

Some say the global economy needs to prioritise “green growth.” If not, the decrease in pollution during the pandemic will have a very small and insignificant overall impact on climate change. Some say carbon emissions affect the poorest nations the most who don’t have enough resources to fight natural disasters possibly brought on by the rising temperatures, like wildfires and droughts.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | AFP

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