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Rare leatherback turtle lays eggs in Phuket’s Mai Khao

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Park officials rush to protect the sea turtle eggs - TNA

Officials of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and army personnel rushed to build a fence at Mai Khao Beach on Friday after learning from a village headman that a leatherback sea turtle laid eggs there. The area is located in the Sirinart Marine National Park, one kilometre north of Phuket’s airport.

Officials built the fence and posted army guards to protect the eggs. It’s the third nest of leatherback eggs to be found on the island.

Three weeks ago, officials at a national park in the southern province of Phang Nga were thrilled when the first baby turtle hatched there. The little leatherback emerged from its nest onto the beach at 6.20am and was taken to a nursery to be nurtured before being released into the sea. Park officials are keeping a close watch on that nest, hoping for more turtles to hatch.

A total of 104 leatherback turtle eggs were found at the Phang Nga nest, outside the territory of the national park on November 17. Eighty-five were found to be viable and taken to another nest inside the park.

In March of last year 40 leatherback hatchlings emerged from their shells and headed out to the Andaman Sea off Phang Nga beach. They hatched in one of three nests found there. Its was first time in five years that turtles had returned to lay eggs there.

Rare leatherback turtle lays eggs in Phuket's Mai Khao | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: – Chiang Rai Times

Leatherbacks are the largest sea turtle specie. They’re named for their shells, which are softer than those of most other turtles. They’re also one of the most migratory species, and sometimes cross both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. While not officially endangered, they are classed as a “vulnerable’ specie and their population is declining.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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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.

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