Jelly blubbers return to southern Thailand river after 3 years

Photos via ThaiRath

Jelly blubbers, a kind of jellyfish, have returned to a river in Songkhla province in southern Thailand after disappearing for more than three years.

Aerial photos reveal jelly blubbers (Catostylus mosaicus) in their masses floating in the Khlong Bang Rieng River in Bang Riang subdistrict, Khuan Niang district, which locals say is a rare natural phenomenon.

Normally, jelly blubbers reside in the sea, not freshwater. The reason they can survive is that seawater from the Gulf of Thailand enters the river on occasion.

The jellyfish started flooding into the river about a week ago after not showing up for three years. In the years the phenomenon happens, it usually occurs in April, but can vary by one or two months.

The Fa Sang team, a social activism group, collaborated with local business owners and volunteers from the public sector to organise the activity, “Kayaking, garbage collecting, and jellyfish.”

Volunteers kayaked a 3-kilometre stretch of the river collecting plastic waste and other floating rubbish, surrounded by hundreds of jelly blubbers, in a unique environmental activity.

Any tourists who wish to see the jelly blubber phenomenon up close can rent a kayak from the riverside restaurants and resorts along Khlong Bang Riang.

Tourists should be careful not to tip their kayak to avoid a jelly blubber sting. Although, they shouldn’t be too fearful because jelly blubber stings, although painful, generally pose no serious risk to humans.

More caution should be taken when swimming in the sea in Thailand, home to many more dangerous species of jellyfish.

In June last year, thousands of tiny fire jellyfish washed up on a beach at Hong Island in Krabi’s Than Bok Khorani National Park. Red flags were raised to warn tourists not to swim, since the small species of jellyfish doesn’t get its name from its pinkish-red colour but from its potent sting.

Do you know how to prevent and treat venomous jellyfish stings in Thailand?

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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