PUBLISHED : 24 Jan 2024 at 05:00
A leatherback sea turtle was found dead on a beach in Phangnga this week after getting entangled in a fishing net.
Athapol Charoenshunsa, chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), was alerted by the chief of Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang National Park that the carcass of the female turtle had washed ashore on Monday.
The decaying turtle, measuring 1.8 metres in length, was found on a beach near the national park protection unit in Thai Muang district with its flippers and neck entangled in a fishing net, which authorities believe caused its death.
The national park is conducting the autopsy in conjunction with Sireetarn Marine Endangered Animals Rescue Centre.
Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Phatcharavat Wongsuwan, who also serves as the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, has instructed the DNP and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to regulate the use of fishing equipment among local fishermen.
“A DNA test will be conducted to identify whether the dead turtle was the same turtle known as Mae Thai Mueang,” Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, an expert from the Marine and Coastal Resources Research & Development Institute, posted on his Facebook page.
He said three turtles had been spotted laying eggs in or near the national park this year. They include two known as Mae Thai Mueang and Mae Lampee.
Globally, leatherback turtles are regarded as a vulnerable species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In Thailand, leatherback turtles, which are commonly seen laying eggs on the western beaches of Phangnga and Phuket, are a protected species under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act 2019.