Phuket villager stumbles upon mother sea turtle laying 107 eggs

A park officer gathers the eggs, photo by Sirinat National Park.

A Phuket villager stumbled upon a mother sea turtle as she was laying 107 eggs. Sirinat National Park said in a Facebook post that the villager, Kriangkrai Dejom, found the mother turtle laying eggs on a beach near Sai Khu Bay at around 5am on Monday. The beach is located in the Sakhu sub-district of Thalang district.

Kriangkrai patiently waited for the mother turtle to finish laying her eggs, and return to the sea. He then marked the spot where he had found the eggs and notified park officers.

Park officers arrived on the scene and found the mother turtle’s tracks. The officers counted 107 eggs, which they moved to a safe area at Nai Yang Beach nearby.

This news comes after 78 baby leatherback sea turtles hatched in Thailand’s southern province of Phang Nga last week. The mother leatherback sea turtle had laid eggs on Bang Kwan Beach two months ago on January 16. Unfortunately, 23 eggs did not hatch and 13 baby turtles died shortly after hatching, before making their way to the open seas. Meanwhile, a green sea turtle laid 96 eggs last week.

Both leatherback turtles and green sea turtles are classified as endangered species and face threats such as habitat loss, pollution, and poaching. Only one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings is thought to make it to adulthood. Without guidance, many hatchlings die from dehydration because they don’t make it to the ocean fast enough.

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But due to decreased human activity following the Covid-19 pandemic, sea turtles have been spotted more and more on Thailand’s beaches in recent years.

In Phang Nga, 118 turtle eggs were found on November 18, marking the start of nesting season. Out of the 118 eggs, 106 were fertile and in good condition. Officials moved the eggs to a high-tech nest with a fence and CCTV cameras, along with thermometers to monitor the incubation process.

In Thailand, park rangers play a crucial role in protecting sea turtle eggs and hatchlings. Rangers often move eggs they find to safer spots and help to safely guide hatchlings into the sea.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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