The reward offered follows officers from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) conducting a “turtle patrol” finding a near-empty nest on Na Yak Beach soon after sunrise on Saturday morning.
The nest that contained only two leatherback turtle eggs. Both eggs were spoiled and would not have produced hatchlings, the officers noted.
The officers excavated the sand around the nest, but no other eggs were found at the site. As turtles usually lay clutches of anywhere from about 50 up to about 100 eggs in one laying, the officers believed that the nest had been raided for its eggs. (See story here.)
“I will give B50,000 to anyone who has information that leads to arrest the thief [or thieves],” said Phang Nga Governor Chamroen, who has also previously served for years as a Phuket Vice Governor and in 2016 served as Phuket Governor.
“This will be added to another B50,000 from the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and the head of Thai Muang village, bringing the total reward to B100,000,” he explained.
“I am begging people to protect turtles together,” he added. “I know that turtle eggs were popular for eating in the past, but we don’t see a lot of them in our generation. These turtles are nearly extinct.
“In recent months, we have seen turtles came back to Phang Nga beaches. Stealing turtle eggs hurts Phang Nga people’s feelings. I have no idea who did this or why. Maybe they sell the eggs. But if you don’t have enough money for food, please come and see me. I will provide it for you,” Governor Chamroen assured.
“Don’t steal turtle eggs. It’s illegal under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act 2019,” he added.
Meanwhile, Haritchai Rittichuay, Chief of the Khao Lampi – Hat Thai Mueang National Park in Phang Nga province, north of Phuket, told The Phuket News today (Jan 6) that police already have some suspects in their sights.
“CCTV footage from the area shows the suspects riding a motorbike into the national park area to go fishing. We are checking the motorbike’s licence plate, but we have not been able to identify the thief [of thieves] yet,” Mr Haritchai said.
“If anyone sees a turtle laying eggs on a beach, please call us at 076-679134 so we can quickly go to protect the eggs and take care of them,” Mr Haritchai added.