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Leatherback turtles return to Phuket and Phang Nga coastlines

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Leatherback turtles return to Phuket and Phang Nga coastlines | The Thaiger
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“This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans. No such nests had been found for the previous five years.”

Despite the economic ravages due to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand, the break from mass tourism has been a boon to Phuket and Phang Nga wildlife. Leatherback sea turtles, shy at the best of times, have been building the largest number of nests in 20 years on the Andaman Sea coastlines.

11 turtle nests have been found since November 2019, the highest number of new nests being found, according to the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong.

“If we compare to the year before, we didn’t have this many spawn, because turtles have a high risk of getting killed by fishing gear and humans disturbing the beach.”

Leatherback sea turtles are the world’s largest sea turtles and the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodile species. They are considered an endangered species in Thailand, and listed as a “vulnerable species” globally (according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Leatherback turtles lay their eggs in dark and quiet areas. Up to recently, difficult to find along the coastlines of Phang Nga and Phuket. Nest thieves also dig into their nests and steal eggs, and the coastline along that patch of the Andaman Sea is prone to high tides which also poses a threat to the nests.

On February 9 this year Officials of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and army personnel rushed to build a fence at Mai Khao Beach on Phuket after hearing that a leatherback sea turtle had laid eggs there. The remote stretch of beach is located in the Sirinart Marine National Park, one kilometre north of Phuket’s airport.

SOURCE: Reuters

Leatherback turtles return to Phuket and Phang Nga coastlines | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires

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Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires | The Thaiger

Thailand is burning. The burning off of harvested crop plantations is lighting up the agricultural areas. The truth is starkly revealed in the live NASA satellite feeds which track the fires around the world.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

CHART: Fires in the past 10 days around parts of Thailand – Firms.Modaps

Concentrations of the current fires can be seen in Central Thailand, north of Bangkok, parts of Isaan, north east of Bangkok, and around Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Notably the concentration of fires in northern Cambodia and across the north-western border in Myanmar, is also causing plenty of problems as the foreign smoke drifts across the borders. No matter what Thai officials do to enforce the rice, sugar and corn plantation burn-offs, there is little they can do about the haze drifting across the borders.

Bangkok, so close to clusters of fires, is in for a bad air pollution day anytime the light winds of the start of the year blow from the north or the east. The lack of rain adds to the problem, the annual problem, that engulfs Thailand’s capital during days between December and April, with the worst month, statistically, being March.

The alternative method of preparing for the next harvest, mechanical removal of the refuse and waste after harvesting, is both unpopular in Thailand and economically unviable for the small farmers whose margins remain thin with the multi-national buyers of their produce pushing for lower and lower prices every year.

In Chiang Mai, from January to the end of March, the locals even call it the ‘burning season’. Coupled with the hot season, the farmers in northern Thailand burn their fields to prepare land for the next harvest and also to get rid of biowastes like corn that can’t be sold in the market. It’s officially illegal to do the burn offs but the lack of enforcement leaves the problem unresolved and the smog and haze remain as predictable as the annual wet season.

Chiang Mai also has a local geographic problem which exacerbates the bad smoke pollution. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, trapping in the smoke and helping block any breezes that could otherwise blow it away.

For today, Bangkok’s air pollution is better than the past two days but still registering as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ with city readings mostly between 140 – 170. Parts of the city, mostly south-east and south west, were registering readings above 300 in the past few days.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: IQair.com

Watch this video for some more information about Bangkok’s smog…

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Thailand

Wildfires hit Mae Hong Son’s Pai district

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Wildfires hit Mae Hong Son’s Pai district | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Several wildfires have broken out in Mae Hong Son’s Pai district in Northern Thailand. The governor says he believes that several blazes happening in the area are a result of the dry season arriving earlier than usual.

Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer system, the local forest fire control centre detected 155 so-called “heat points” in the Pai district from January 1 to 12. Last year’s dry season only 96 heat points were detected.

There are no reports of property damages, injuries, or deaths.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Dead whale found washed up on Koh Samui beach

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Dead whale found washed up on Koh Samui beach | The Thaiger
PHOTO: สิทธิโรจน์ แก้วหนองเสม็ด

A dead Bryde’s whale was found washed up on Koh Samui’s Choeng Mon beach yesterday. By the look of the rotting carcass, said to be around 11 metres long, marine resource specialist Thon Thamrongnawasawat says he believes the whale died several days ago. The cause of death is currently under investigation by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thon said on Facebook.

“Currently, there are about 50 Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Thailand. That means the situation of whales is still good and better than the dugongs. But I wish that there were no more 5 deaths per year from natural causes. If the death is over this limit, that will be worrying.”

The Bryde’s whales are spotted around the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand all year round, especially on the coastlines of Chonburi, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Bang Khun Thian district of Bangkok, Samut Songkram and Petchaburi provinces.

SOURCE: Facebook | DMCR

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