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Trawler net kills giant Phuket turtle



Trawler net kills giant Phuket turtle | Thaiger

PHUKET: A 250-kilogram male leatherback turtle was found dead at Phuket’s popular Bang Tao Beach in Cherng Talay yesterday afternoon.

“The 2.5-meter-long turtle had died at least two weeks earlier. Its body was tangled up in a large section of trawler fishing net,” Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) biologist Dr Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong told the Gazette.

“People found the turtle floating in the sea around noon yesterday, before it washed ashore near the Sunwing Phuket Resort about 4pm. PMBC officers went to examine it at 6pm,” he said.

Local residents who had gathered around to see the huge carcass buried the turtle’s body on the beach in front of the resort around 7pm, he added.

“Leatherback turtles are very rarely spotted around here these days. Probably only about five turtles return to lay eggs in Phuket,” said Dr Kongkiat.

“This time of year, the turtles come to breed in the sea before the females lay their eggs on the beaches,” he added.

The marine life expert pointed out that the leatherbacks breeding area is about six kilometers offshore.

However, the marine-turtle protection zone covers only three kilometers from the beach, he said.

“The PMBC plans to ask Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to extend the zone to cover six kilometers from where the turtles lay their eggs,” he said.

“We are now in discussions with the relevant organizations and we will draw up the plan together and send it to the department soon,” he said.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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