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A turtle ready for release  at Cape  Panwa

Phuket's Turtles Are Coming Back At Last

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Wednesday TRENDS

SEA TURTLES are returning in greater numbers to waters around Phuket.

Navy officials say that a concerted campaign over the past few years to help the animals recover is paying dividends at last.

More turtles are now being spotted in waters around Koh Racha and Koh Lon. A tourist diver even told Phuketwan that he saw one swimming in Patong Bay.

Some released turtles are being fitted with microchips and electronic devices that should enable scientists to track their movements, says Wing Commander Monti Rodwiset, Civilian Director of the Andaman's Third Naval Area Command.

The first year of the lives of turtles is a mystery, although it is known they wander far west across the Indian Ocean and east to the Philippines.

More are returning now by instinct to mate and breed at the marine park on the Similan islands, which is protected by the Royal Thai Navy.

Divers at the Similans report seeing turtles more frequently.

A total of 477 turtles were released yesterday at the Third Naval Area Command at Cape Panwa, where the navy zone includes a beach and a coral reef.

The release market the Queen's Birthday and Mother's Day and attracted scores of children, scouts and groups from Phuket City and surrounding areas, including local residents.

A group of members of the women's auxillary, in olive green uniforms, said a prayer for one little turtle before releasing it. The next wave brought it back, threatening their leather shoes.

One uniformed member took the plunge and sacrificed her shoes to make sure the little turtle had a good start.

Efforts are still being made to educate people about the turtles' fight to survive.

The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, with JW Marriott and Phuket Rajabhat University, conducted a two-day workshop last Thursday and Friday.

Turtles, because of construction and noise, may never return to Phuket to hatch the way they once did in large numbers.

But it seems their thoughtless eradication from the region is being reversed.

The Queen's Birthday was also marked at Saphan Hin yesterday evening with hundreds of schools and organisations represented in a candle-lit ceremony that concluded with a spectacular display of fireworks.

The Eyesore Islands

PHUKET is not the only island with a litter problem. On Monday in Britain the BBC screened Panorama: Notes from a Dirty Island.

On the show, noted writer Bill Bryson, an American who chooses to live in Britain, tells his audience: ''It's just not the place that I fell in love with.''

What could have wrought such a drastic change of heart? Litter, says the author of a shelfload of amusing travel books as well as lively tracts on history, science and language.

Britain, Bryson says, is being engulfed by a layer of grubbiness and squalor to which most people are simply turning a blind eye.

In Notes on a Dirty Island, Bryson tries to draw attention to the problem. Perhaps someone should do something on Phuket, too.

Look for
TRENDS
every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading. To tell us your news, email bigislandmedia@gmail.com or telephone 081 6513489.

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Look for
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Turtles pictures, turtles videos and more types of turtles About Us at http://www.turtles-house.com/

Posted by jeery on August 14, 2008 14:57


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