Phuket’s turtle nesting sites empty of eggs this year

PHUKET: Phuket’s marine wildlife experts have expressed concern that turtles are not laying eggs on many of the Andaman beaches historically used by the turtle population.

“The nesting season for sea turtles along the Andaman coast is usually from November to March. Their preferred nesting sites are Mai Khao Beach in Phuket, Tai Muang Beach in Phang Nga and some coastal areas in Satun province,” said Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, head of the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC).

“Unfortunately, the turtles are not laying eggs on the usual beaches even though it is the nesting season,” he said.

The number of Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Green turtles are lower than before, a worried Mr Kongkiat explained.

“Climate is a major factor. It determines turtle population size as well as affecting the gender of the turtle’s offspring. The optimum temperature [for turtle nesting] is 29ºC. If it’s too hot they won’t lay eggs,” he said.

An officer stationed at the Khao Lampi – Hat Thai Mueang National Park, in Phang Nga, also confirmed that no turtles had laid eggs on the beach this year.

National park officers are to monitor the situation closely, Mr Kongkiat explained.

“Encouragingly though, the turtles have continued to lay eggs on the beaches of the Similan islands, off the Phang Nga coast, all year round.

“Since January, about 100 nests have been counted, most of them made by Olive Ridley turtles,” Mr Kongkiat added.

— Warisa Temram

Phuket News

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