Pregnant turtle found dead at Mai Khao

MAI KHAO: A 30-year-old green sea turtle, or Chelonia mydas, weighing some 100 kilograms, was found dead on Mai Khao Beach yesterday morning.

It is believed the turtle had been dead for at least three days before its body was found.

Kongkiat Kittiwattawong, a biologist at the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) at Cape Panwa, said, “The turtle was female and she was ready to lay eggs. As there are no signs that she was sick, we believe that she was caught in a fishing net and drowned.”

K. Kongkiat pointed out that the find was exceptional for two reasons. “This is the first turtle ready to lay eggs that has been found dead on Phuket; and most turtles that lay eggs on Phuket are either Leatherback or Hawksbill turtles,” he said.

K. Kongkiat explained that about 10 years ago there were about 500 known sites in Phuket and Phang Nga where turtles laid their eggs.

However, he explained, “Although in the past three years turtle eggs have been found on Phuket, no hatchlings have been spotted on the island because there have been no male turtles coming to fertilize the eggs.

“Most turtles are killed by fishing equipment, especially floating fishing nets. It is dangerous and we need to move to protect turtles as fast as possible,” he added.

Phuket News
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