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Samui’s Banyan Tree Hotel acts to protect sea turtle nest

The Thaiger

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Khun Veeraphat, a waiter at Sands beachfront restaurant on Koh Samui, made a startling discovery on February 13 when he spotted what appeared to be tracks coming from the sea. CCTV footage at Banyan Tree Samui clearly showed a giant sea turtle laying eggs on the beach the night before, then returning to the water. The luxury hotel, located on the southeast tip of the island, immediately contacted the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, who arrived and uncovered two nests containing around 100 eggs belonging to a green sea turtle.

Then, on February 24, the mother turtle returned and laid a second clutch, this time numbering 141 eggs. This nest, however, was too close to the shoreline and so it was carefully dug up and relocated it on higher sands.

Such a discovery on Koh Samui is rare; green turtles (Chelonia mydas) tend to lay their eggs on remote shores in the Andaman Sea – not at busy tourist resorts in the Gulf of Thailand.

However, this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does Banyan Tree Samui employ a CSR (corporate social responsibility) team headed by a marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw, but the resort was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.

The resort built an enclosure to keep the nest safe from monitor lizards and any other would-be predators. In the days that followed, the fenced-off pen became adopted by guests as a protected site.

“We were very excited to find the clutch of eggs, but quickly realized that this was a precarious situation,” said Thepsuda. “Luckily, the Banyan Tree beach is situated in a private cove so tourists and vendors are not constantly walking by. The most immediate danger was the tide, but the turtle had fortunately buried her first clutch above the high-tide line. The second nest was too close to the shore so we carefully dug it up and moved it higher. The next danger was the monitor lizards who prey on turtle eggs. We had to ward off a large local lizard who had the nest in his sights.”

Green sea turtles generally weigh between 110 and 180 kg and measure about one meter in length. The gestation period for eggs is between 45 and 60 days, meaning that this clutch should hatch between March 28 and April 12, which is the day before Thai New Year (Songkran).

“In this day and age when we hear so much about endangered marine life, it’s a fantastic feeling for all of us at the resort to feel we are giving something back,” said Banyan Tree Samui General Manager Remko Kroesen.

Samui's Banyan Tree Hotel acts to protect sea turtle nest | News by The ThaigerSamui's Banyan Tree Hotel acts to protect sea turtle nest | News by The Thaiger

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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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Air Pollution

Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold

Maya Taylor

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Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

Officials in Bangkok have decided to delay a proposed ban on 10 wheel trucks in light of the current economic challenges affecting the transportation and industrial sectors. The proposed ban was aimed at reducing PM2.5 air pollution in the capital and was expected to come into force from December 1 – 28.

Particulates – also known as atmospheric aerosol particles, atmospheric particulate matter, particulate matter (PM), or suspended particulate matter (SPM) – are microscopic particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in the air – Wikpedia

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter (solid and liquid particles) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres that remain suspended in the air for longer. They can be the result of burning fuel and are the primary cause of smog.

Commenting on the decision to delay the ban indefinitely, Deputy National Police chief Damrongsak Kittipraphas says the relevant authorities agreed the timing is not right.

“The police have discussed with related agencies, including the Department of Industrial Promotion, Pollution Control Department, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Public Transport Association, and agreed to postpone the rule indefinitely. The members at the meeting were concerned that the rule could obstruct the operation of the industrial and transportation sectors that are starting to recover from the economic contraction. Therefore, the related agencies promised to study the issue thoroughly, as well as explore other options to prevent and reduce PM2.5 air pollution in Bangkok.”

However, Damrongsak says that from December 1, authorities in the capital will be clamping down on large polluting vehicles, adding that those emitting clouds of black smoke are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution.

“We will send officers to perform random checks at bus terminals and truck operation centres. The inspection will be recorded via video camera to ensure transparency of police work.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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