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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation expands into Bangkok

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation expands into Bangkok | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Phuket’s renowned animal welfare charity Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) has joined forces with the Bangkok-based Soi Cats and Dogs organization (SCAD) to launch operations in the Thai capital.

SCAD, a well established and highly regarded Thai foundation, will be integrated into SDF and Phimpakarn Petpichetchien appointed General Manager of the new operation, SDF’s founder John Dalley announced in press release today.

Mr Dalley believes it is the first step in establishing a national organization dedicated to humanely tackling the problems associated with stray dog and cat populations.

“Bangkok has a massive problem but is blessed with a large number of Thai people and groups who are working extremely hard to both find a solution to the problem and provide care for the many injured and sick animals in the city.

“SCAD is a tremendous organization which has achieved a great deal, but it is felt that by integrating with SDF far more can be done than working separately,” he said.

“SDF-SCAD Bangkok will be very much a Thai-run operation with SDF providing the necessary facilities and finance to support them,” he added.

President of the SCAD advisory committee, Annelize Booysen, echoed Mr Dalley’s comments, saying, “Joining forces with SDF is an excellent opportunity to combine our skills and resources to make a real difference in improving the lives of street animals in Bangkok and later in the rest of Thailand.

“SDF has always been a partner to us – albeit at a distance – and we are very proud to be joining them now in the fight for improved animal welfare in Thailand,” she said.

Mr Dalley stressed that this would in no way affect the SDF’s work in Phuket, where an ambitious program to increase sterilizations to 10,000 per year will commence once additional vets and dog teams have been recruited and trained.

“We have now contacted all local OrBorTor [local government authorities] bar one, with a view to establishing full cooperation in instigating local mobile clinics throughout the island over the next two years. All are in favor of this plan, which will commence this summer,” he said.

Mr Dalley said that the increased number of sterilizations will see Phuket’s stray dogs under total control in two years. However, he pointed out that although the number of stray dogs has reduced over the past eight years, the unsterilized dogs are now producing significantly larger litters with a higher survival rate because of the reduced numbers.

“By increasing sterilizations to 10,000 per year we will be able to overtake the birth rate. Once under control, a maintenance operation will be required to sterilize puppies dumped by owners who refuse to have their dogs sterilized, and allow us to focus on new areas,” he explained.

However, Mr Dalley believes problems will continue in Patong unless there is a change in attitude.

“Whilst we focus on the unsterilized dogs the local authority persist in disposing of sterilized dogs rather than allowing them to remain, meaning the problem will never be solved,” he said.

“SDF will not cooperate with Patong OrBorTor [Municipality] while they continue to refuse to admit what they are doing with the dogs being removed,” he stated.

“Their statement that they are taking the dogs to the Government Dog Pound is refuted by the Phuket office of the Department of Livestock, who manage that facility.

“We will of course continue to respond to calls from the general public regarding unsterilized and injured dogs in Patong,” he said.

Mr Dalley also called on the Government of Phuket to impose a ban on the import and sale of non-vaccinated, unsterilized puppies, coming mainly from puppy farms in Bangkok.

He stressed that not only did this pose a risk of introducing rabies to the island, but also exacerbated the stray dog situation as many end up being dumped at temples and on the streets.

“Dozens of puppies crammed into wire cages can often be seen at the cargo terminal at the airport destined for sale at markets and temple fairs. The puppies are generally four to five weeks old and cannot be vaccinated at that age,” Mr Dalley said.

To learn more about Soi Dog Foundation and SCAD see www.soidog.org and www.SCADbangkok.org

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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