First nesting of a Ridley’s turtle in 23 years on Phang-nga beach
After a 23 year absence from the beach in Thai Muang district of the southern Thai province of Phang-nga, Ridley’s turtles have returned to the beaches to breed, causing excitement among park officials.
On Friday, Mr. Jatuporn Burutpat, director-general of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, said that he had been informed by the chief of Khao Lampee-Hat Thai Muang national park about the discovery of 81 Ridley’s turtle eggs on the beach in the park.
The eggs have been collected and taken to the nursery at a turtle watch centre on Tha Sai beach for incubation and the nest on the beach has been cordoned off with a bamboo fence.
Mr Jatuporn said that the Ridley’s turtle is a protected species under Thai law. The mature turtle weighs between 45-52 kgs and averages about 70-75 cm in length. It is regarded as the smallest sea turtle and can be found mostly in the Andaman Sea on Kra, Phra Thong and Khor Khao islands, Thai Muang beach of Phang-nga, Mai Khao, Kamala and Rawai beaches in Phuket.
Their breeding season is between October and March. However, nesting by turtles on beaches in Phang-nga and Phuket has not been seen for over two decades. Prior to this discovery, the last nesting of Ridley’s turtles was reported in 1996.