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Large “chunk” breaks off Krabi island, damaging coral reef at popular dive site

Caitlin Ashworth

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Large “chunk” breaks off Krabi island, damaging coral reef at popular dive site | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau
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A large chunk of an island near Koh Phi Phi in southern Thailand has broken off and collapsed on top of a coral reef at a popular dive site. No one was around when the cliffsides sheered off and collapsed into the sea, but national park officers on a routine patrol noticed a section of the island had broken off and saw two large sections of rock above the water.

There has been considerable rain in the region over the past 2 months.

A section of Koh Mae Urai, located between Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, broke off in 2 large pieces estimated to weigh around 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes. Divers headed down to examine the site to see how much damage has been done to the coral reef. The water has been murky, so it’s hard to tell how much damage was done, but Koh Phi Phi National Park chief, Prayoon Phongphan, says he thinks 20% of the coral around the island was damaged.

“At this stage, we do not know how much of the reef was damaged, but the reef is home to important coral, including staghorn coral, and was a popular dive site for tourists.”

Large

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Koh Mae Urai is a unique local dive spot with 2 tunnels lined with soft and hard corals, according to Lonely Planet. When the current isn’t too strong and the visibility is good, Koh Mae Urai is “the most beautiful dive site in the Ao Nang area with number soft coral as well as seahorses”, according to Krabi Magazine.

For now, the area around the island is closed off and boat operators are warned not to approach the site until marine officials can inspect the island’s structure and be sure of the safety for divers and visitors.

“Please be careful. Boat operators must not approach the site. It can be dangerous… Park officers will mark off the area with buoys with a sign clearly explaining no entry to the sealed-off area.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Danae

    October 22, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    It is Koh Talu, not Koh Mae Urai. Google maps has the island marked wrong

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 25, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Park officials claim a ferang did it . . .

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Tigers and tiger body parts seized from Thai zoo investigated for alleged wildlife smuggling

Caitlin Ashworth

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Tigers and tiger body parts seized from Thai zoo investigated for alleged wildlife smuggling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Esan Daily Online

In a crackdown on suspected wildlife trafficking, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation seized 5 tigers from a private zoo in the Isaan province Mukdahan. DNA tests confirmed that at least 3 of the 5 tiger cubs are not related to the tigers in the Mudka Tiger Park & Farm, leading officials to believe the wildcats were smuggled in, according to DNP director general Prakit Wongsriwattanakul.

Thai media reports say that some of the tigers seized were not alive and photos of a severed tiger head apparently have been posted by various Thai news websites.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time the Mukda Tiger Park & Farm has been investigated. In January 2018, DNP officials seized protected species from the park including red pandas, grey-shanked douc monkeys and elongated tortoises.

Officials are conducting DNA tests on another 20 tigers and the results will be released by the end of the month. If found guilty of wildlife smuggling, the park owner could face up to 5 years in prison.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Protected hornbill dies from gunshot wound, 2 suspects in police custody

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protected hornbill dies from gunshot wound, 2 suspects in police custody | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: เผด็จ ศิริดำรง

A protected great hornbill died after 5 days of medical treatment for a severe gunshot wound. 2 suspects are now in police custody and officers have seized a .22 calibre rifle, according to Thai PBS.

A tourist found the injured bird near the Khiriphet waterfall on Koh Chang. The hornbill, known in Thai as a nok nguek, was treated at the Nuern Plub Wan animal hospital in Chon Buri. The great hornbill’s condition rapidly deteriorated and veterinarian Phadet Siriadmrong says the hornbill suffered brain stem death.

The great hornbill, Buceros Bicornis, is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. According to IUCN, hunting his substantial threat to the great hornbill.

Hunting poses a substantial threat to the species. Because of its predictable behaviour when regularly visiting the same feeding sites, it is easily targeted by local hunters.

Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act prohibits hunting preserved or protected wild animals. Those found guilty of violating the act could face up to 4 years in prison and a fine up 40,000 baht.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Bangkok Post | IUCN

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Thailand

Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range

Caitlin Ashworth

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Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range | The Thaiger
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

An endangered clouded leopard was spotted at a mountain range in the Isaan province Si Sa Ket. The rare sighting, captured using a camera trap, was the first time in about 20 years the wildcat has been seen in the Phnom Dongrak mountain range which borders Cambodia.

Since the park rangers stepped up patrol against poaching and made efforts to increase food and water sources, more small predators like foxes, dholes and leopard cats have been returning to the area, according to director of a local conservation office Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.

“Today in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary there is a clouded leopard, which is a medium sized predator.”

Camera traps were set up by local conservation officials from November 1 to 24, capturing footage of the rare clouded leopard. The cameras also filmed hog deer, Asiatic wild dogs, a Malaysian night heron and a leopard.

The clouded leopard is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation says the leopard is hunted for the illegal wildlife, adding that the leopard skins have been seen in market surveys along with bones used for medicines and meat for exotic dishes.

Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts are well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting…However, the trade of cat parts from Myanmar into Thailand has diminished and reaffirms the role of China in the trade of cats out of Myanmar.

Sightings of the clouded leopard have also been reported at the Kaeng Krachan National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | IUCN| Thai PBS

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