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Leatherback turtles return to Phuket and Phang Nga coastlines

The Thaiger

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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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Pattaya

Pattaya mayor responds to video showing black water gushing into the sea next to Walking Street

Jack Burton

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Pattaya mayor responds to video showing black water gushing into the sea next to Walking Street | The Thaiger
PHOTO: We Love Pattaya

With Pattaya’s beaches reopening this week, for the first time since they were closed in March, there is still concern about what the City’s officials are pumping into the Gulf of Thailand off the Pattaya coast. Last Monday, filthy black water was seen gushing into the Gulf of Thailand right next to Pattaya’s famous Walking Street. The video, from the ‘We Love Pattaya’ Facebook page showed filthy water pouring into the sea from a pumping station near the entrance.

It seems the new Pattaya Beach Road drains are WORKING 🇹🇭🙏🇹🇭Big rain no beach road floods ❤️🤍💙

Posted by We Love Pattaya on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pattaya’s mayor tried to explain away the video, saying it wasn’t sewage but muddy storm runoff, intentionally released into the sea rather than remain on the streets to flood homes and businesses.

“All wastewater is sent via different pipes to sewage treatment plants.”

“Usually storm runoff is channelled through filters to remove trash and debris, but in times of heavy rainfall, the system can’t keep up and water backs up and floods homes. In that case city engineers have the option to open filter gates and allow rainwater to run directly into the sea.”

He insisted the dark colour of the water was sand and sediment, and not sewage.

Pattaya mayor responds to video showing black water gushing into the sea next to Walking Street | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

But in late May, tourists were warned not to swim in Pattaya, especially off the Na Chom Thian beach, after the coastal waters in the area turned black and emitted a foul smell, reportedly from untreated waste water. The Pattaya City administration issued an order temporarily suspending swimming in the sea near Pattaya until officials found the source of the effluent and fixed it.

Yesterday the scenes at Bang Saen Beach, further up the Chon Buri coast, wereteeming with people.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World

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Central Thailand

4 metre python caught after eating school’s pets

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 metre python caught after eating school’s pets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

Cats and chickens have been going missing at a central Thailand school for the past month or so. Turns out they ended up in the stomach of a 4 metre, 70 kilogram python. The Pranchanukul Rescue Team in Ratchaburi eventually caught the python yesterday and released into the wild, away from villages. Ratchaburi is on the Burmese border, west of Bangkok.

The janitor at the Wat Aranyikawat Temple School was trying to figure where the animals were going and kept an eye out for a potential predator. Yesterday, he saw the large reptile slither into a pond. After he reported the sighting he tried to track down the snake and found a large cat being eaten by the giant snake. It was the school’s last cat. The janitor tried to intervene, but the snake tried to attack him.

He called the experts in instead.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Environment

Chemical ban now in effect, farmers say they have few alternatives

Caitlin Ashworth

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Chemical ban now in effect, farmers say they have few alternatives | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand’s ban on 2 toxic chemicals in herbicides and pesticides, is now in effect. While the move focuses on a sustainable, eco-friendly future, farmers say they are at a loss with no alternatives to keep bugs and weeds from killing their crops.

The 2 chemicals, paraquat and chlorpyrifos, have been shown to be toxic to humans in some studies, in sufficient quantities. Paraquat is used to kill weeds on palm, rubber, sugarcane, corn and cassava plantations while chlorpyrifos is used to kill worms on fruit. The two chemicals were added to the Type 4 list on Thailand’s Hazardous Substance Act last month and the ban started on June 1. A group of Thai farmers again tried to appeal the ban last week.

“Without paraquat, Thai farmers will face losses in key crops because there are no alternatives.”

Secretary-general of the Federation of Safe Agriculture Sukan Sungwanna says that around 10 million farming households in Thailand use the chemicals.

Thailand’s deputy chief for the Department of Agriculture says they’ve prepared 16 alternatives for substitutes for the chemicals, but declined to discuss the details.

Farmers are given 90 days to return unused chemicals back to sellers. Farmers caught storing or using the chemicals after June 1 face charges of malfeasance. Those who sell, produce, import or export the chemicals can also face up to 10 years in jail and an up to 1 million baht fine.

SOURCES: Reuters | Bangkok Post

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