Endangered Sea Turtles Hatch for 1st Time in Decades on Thai Soil

PHANG NGA — Dozens of an endangered species of sea turtle hatched Wednesday night in Thailand for the first time in more than two decades.

The olive ridley sea turtles, hatched on a Phang Nga beach for the first time since 1996 according to Jatuporn Burutpat, director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

“Thank you everyone [for helping the turtles]. It seems as if perhaps Thai seas might be recovering,” Kasetsart University professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a famous marine ecologist, said on a Facebook post.

A marine watch team stationed on Wat Tasai Beach in Thai Mueang district close to midnight Wednesday noticed the hatchlings and helped the 68 turtles leave their nest and shuffle toward the high tide.

Of the 81 eggs, 11 eggs were unfertilized and two did not hatch.

Olive ridley sea turtles are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and are protected under Thai law. Jatuporn says this species is found in the Andaman Sea and fewer remain in the Gulf of Thailand.

Jatuporn says the olive ridley sea turtles, the smallest type in the sea, are at risk of ingesting beach trash, wastewater pollution and illegal trawling.

In February, the first nest of leatherback sea turtles hatched in Thailand for the first time in five years, also in Phang Nga. In Krabi’s famous Maya Bay, the shark population increased within six months of it being closed to tourists.

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