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Thousands of crabs scamper sideways in Phuket's mass migration

Phuket City Nature on the Move in Mass Crab Migration

Monday, October 1, 2012
PHUKET: Thousands of small crabs on the move in Phuket City yesterday attracted the attention of Phuket nature-lovers.

The mass migration so close to Phuket's administrative capital was a welcome sign that Mother Nature has not given up on the tourist island.

Well, not yet, anyway.

The sideways march by Meder's Mangrove Crab - also known as samae - was witnessed by scores of onlookers.

The crabs were making their twice-yearly instinctive pilgrimage from mangroves on one side of Sakdidet Road Soi 1, near Saphan Hin park in Phuket City, to mangroves on the other side.

Local authorities have thoughtfully provided a couple of pipes so the migration can take place without the crabs having to take the risk of being crushed on the road surface.

Observers did note, however, that there was bad water in the vicinity. Mangroves close to Phuket City are especially under threat.

The Director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, Ukrit Satapoomin, said today that the crabs migrate once between September-November and again in April-July.

''It's part of the mass spawning,'' he said. ''We lost out expert on crabs a little while back so sadly, we are not looking more closely at what happens on Phuket.''

Millions of crabs on Christmas Island, off Australia's north west coast, migrate each year in perhaps the most dramatic example of the Phuket crab phenomenon.

As long as the crabs are there, Phuket's environment is perhaps bearable, if under constantly intensifying pressure.

Turtles, for example, are likely to continue to be washed ashore at Phuket's beaches with maimed flippers despite the record coral reef cleanup yesterday in the Go-Eco Phuket Dive Agaianst Debris.

Three of the turtles recuperating at the Phuket centre, on Phuket's east coast at cape Panwa, are still being fed by tube, said the director.

''The sick young female dolphin we rescued recently has pneumonia and we hope that keeping it in a swimming cradle will help it recover.''

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