Prarop Plangngarn, Chief of the Phuket Marine National Park Operations Center 2, confirmed to The Phuket News that the turtle laid 111 eggs.
“In total, 92 of them were good, the other 19 were infertile,” Mr Prarop explained.
Mr Prarop was jubilant over the return of a turtle laying eggs on a Phuket beach. “See! They are coming back!” he said.
Itthiphol Rairat, a 60-year-old owner of a local restaurant and bungalow resort, told officers that he saw the turtle at about 5am when he turned up for work.
However, he did not report the turtle to national park officers until about 6am.
“By the time we got there the turtle had already finished laying its eggs and had returned to the sea,” Mr Prarop explained.
The eggs were moved to an area on Nai Yang Beach that is inside the national park so officers can keep close watch on them, Mr Prarop explained.
“We have to protect the eggs and keep a close watch over them. The area where the turtle laid the eggs is busy with tourists, anyone would be able to get to them.
“The eggs will take about 60 days to hatch. We will set up a fence around the new nest site today,” he added.
Whether Mr Itthiphol will receive a B20,000 reward for reporting the turtle laying eggs or whether the reward will be shared is in dispute as Mr Prarop explained that another person also reported the turtle eggs.
“One of them reported the turtle laying eggs at 6am and the other reported it at 6:30am,” Mr Prarop said, declining to identify whether or not he knew who called first.
However, he added, “I asked them to sort it out themselves and let me know.”
The reward for reporting turtle nests, launched in November (see story here), initially applied to only certain beaches in Phuket and Phang Nga that are known to be preferred locations for turtles to lay eggs, but the reward will now apply for other local beaches, Mr Prarop confirmed.
Additional reporting by Tanyaluk Sakoot