Shell shocker: Tragedy strikes leatherback turtle on Phang Nga beach, but record-breaking nest brings hope

Photo courtesy of The Nation

A leatherback turtle met its demise on a Phang Nga beach, ensnared in a trap. However, amidst the sorrow, a record-breaking moment unfolded as another of these incredible creatures left a legacy with an astounding 92-egg nest.

Attapol Charoenchansa, Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, unveiled the discovery of a deceased leatherback turtle. This female giant, measuring 105 centimetres wide and 181 centimetres long, was tragically entangled in a squid-catching net.

Attapol Charoenchansa expressed his concern for this fallen turtle.

“The carcass will be checked for the cause of death at a marine resources centre.”

However, hope rose from the sands of the Thai Mueang beach as vigilant park officials stumbled upon signs of another leatherback turtle in a remarkable nesting act.

Patrolling officers, under the moonlit sky at 11.15pm, discovered distinctive traces of colossal flippers measuring 202 centimetre-wide and a chest spanning 130 centimetres. These dimensions aligned with the legendary Big Mum, previously documented on the same beach.

The turtle had meticulously dug a 72 centimetre-deep hole, depositing a whopping 135 eggs. Regrettably, 43 were deemed infertile but the remaining 92 were carefully relocated to a secluded section of the beach under the watchful eyes of officials.

Officials predict that these precious eggs will hatch around March 15 to 20, marking a momentous occasion for the conservation efforts in the region. This nest marks the sixth within Khao Lampee-Had Thai Mueang National Park and the 10th overall in Phang Nga, reported The Nation.

Offering congratulations to the park officials, Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a Kasetsat University lecturer, also extended sympathy for the fallen leatherback turtle, suggesting it might be the renowned Thai Muang Mum.

Thon theorised that she might have succumbed to the squid net after laying her eggs, which are expected to hatch in approximately a month. Commending the officials for their unwavering commitment to preserving these critically endangered species, he highlighted the significance of their hard work in safeguarding the future of leatherback turtles.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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