TURTLES IN THAILAND
Thailand has four main species of Marine Turtles and all of them are being severely threatened by over fishing and are caught in nets or their beach nests are disturbed so they don’t have babies. It is estimated that Tutle population is down by more than 85% since the 1970s with few nests recorded these last few years.
The fourth biggest reptile behind the Crocodile. They are the worlds deepest divers having swum to 1,200m below the surface and have been clocked at an incredible 32 kmh, fast like a bike.
Since 1970 over 95 percent of the leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean have disappeared.
With its hawk beak and a shell that changes color is magical. She lays over 150 eggs, which after two months are born and run into the water. They live for up to 50 years mostly around reefs and are playful.
So named because of their green skin under around the shell is a large turtle who loves to eat sea grass, so mostly stays around tropical lagoons and sometimes comes up to see you, when snorkeling in places like the Similans. Green turtles nest every three years from march to july.
The smallest of the Turtles, with an olive colored heart shaped shell and is very cute. Olive ridleys nest between October and February.
IUCN RED LIST: Vulnerable
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Go see a turtle for yourself: Phuket Marine Biological Centre, at the Phuket Aquarium on Cape Panwa, in Phukets south east has a rehabilitation centre and breeding facilities which visitors can look at, if you walk past the aquarium about 100m on the waterfront you will see the breeding tanks.
DID YOU KNOW?
- turtles have been inhabiting our planet for more than 150 million years.
- it is assumed that there will hardly be any turtles to be seen in the oceans of this planet anymore in the near future, unless massive protection measures are undertaken now.
- only 1-2 out of 1.000 turtle hatchlings grow to adulthood? Once grown up they have only two predators: Sharks and, much more important: Mankind.
- Green Turtles can stay under water for up to five hours with the air of one breath in their lungs.
- Green Turtles can reduce their heart rate to a minimum of one pulse per nine minutes when diving.
- sea turtles travel thousands of miles on their journeys through the oceans of the world.
- after many years of migration in the world´s oceans female sea turtles always return to the very same beach from which they once originated to lay their own eggs there.
- sea turtle eggs are regarded as a delicacy in many countries and that the ongoing looting of their nests is by far the foremost threat to the future of sea turtles.
- sea turtles have been living on this planet for millions of years and are now brought to the edge of extinction in just a century by mankind.
- 30 years ago several hundred turtles came ashore on Sangalaki (Indonesia) nightly to lay their eggs? Five years ago the numbers declined to about 50 nesting turtles nightly; today the average number came down further to a mere 10-20.
- in 1947 40.000 female sea turtles came ashore to lay their eggs in the Gulf of Mexico? 1960 the number was down to 5.000, and further reduced to 700 by 1989!
- 50 years ago thousands of nests were counted each year in the state of Terengganu Peninsula (Malaysia)? In 1991 the number was down to 207 and further reduced to a mere 19 in 1998. In recent years the numbers have dropped to less than 10 nests per year and the population is considered virtually extinct.
- with every single egg and hatchling, which we save today, we contribute to the chance that nests will be built and eggs will be laid again at the same site in about 10 to 20 years time.
Turtle facts from the Turtle Foundation
Here on Phuket we are fortunate to have three Turtle foundations, Laguna resorts at Bangtao beach, the Mai Khao beach Turtle foundation and Aleentas turtle release program based up at Natai beach in Phang Nga, detailed on seperate links.
JOHNNY Vasco Da Gama
When Johnny Vasco de Gama showed up in the Netherlands three years ago, he was a nameless, frigid sea turtle with little chance of surviving much longer in the icy waters of the North Sea. But now, this accidental world traveler is back in the United States and will soon be released into the warm waters his species calls home.
The turtle, dubbed “Johnny” by rescuers in the Netherlands, had “Vasco de Gama” appended to his name in Portugal, where marine biologists at the ocean theme park Zoomarine nursed him back to health. The turtle is a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, a critically endangered species and the rarest of all sea turtles. For that reason, an international team of conservationists has worked hard to bring Johnny back to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
On Tuesday, Johnny arrived at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., where staff checked him out and placed him in a holding tank in preparation to release him into the Gulf. No one knows exactly how Johnny made it all the way to the Netherlands, thousands of miles from his home territory in the Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern coast of the U.S. According to Mote Marine Lab, the turtle likely got caught in cold currents and became “cold-stunned,” a condition that can shut down turtles’ organs and even kill the animals. In that state, Johnny may have drifted hundreds or thousands of miles before being found in November 2008.
Once rescued, Johnny was stabilized by Rotterdam Zoo employees and then sent to the aquarium Oceanário de Lisboa in Portugal the following summer. The aquarium, in turn, sent the turtle to Zoomarine for rehabilitation. At Mote Marine Lab, Johnny underwent a veterinary exam on Tuesday and is now on medical hold to be sure that he’s ready for release back into the wild. As soon as he’s cleared, Johnny will be set free in southwest Florida waters
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