BANGKOK (Xinhua) — A chief of a national park in Southern Thailand on Saturday said he would reward those with information leading to the stolen eggs of Thailand’s rare sea turtle meanwhile warning that the culprits will face maximum penalty.
Rare sea turtle eggs, belonging to the leatherback turtle, were stolen at the midnight of Friday from a beach in southern Phangnga province.
Prarop Plangngarn, chief of Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang National Park said park officials found traces of a large sea turtle, believed to lay eggs on a beach in the park during the high tide.
“We have made a thorough check already. At least 50 eggs were stolen after a huge mother leatherback turtle laid eggs at the shore. Officials only found two unfertilized eggs,” said Prarop.
Park authorities are now collecting evidence left in the area to take legal actions against the theft.
Thailand has deemed leatherback turtle a reserved animal.
Prarop said that those, who sell or illegally possess the eggs face three to 15 years in jail and a fine between 300,000 baht (9,941 U.S. dollars) to 1.5 million baht (49,707 U.S. dollars ).
The park chief said that anyone who can give information leading to the arrest of the culprit will receive a 20,000 baht (662 U.S. dollar) reward.
He believed that about 50 leatherback turtle eggs disappeared and this number could be one-third of the leatherback turtle eggs in this egg-laying season, a dramatic drop in the number of leftover rare turtles in Thailand.