Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation has created a special protected area for dugongs in Trang province. The move is in response to concerns that the return of tourists could have a negative impact on the dugongs’ habitat.
The protected area encompasses 1,787 rai of the Hat Chao Mai National Park, according to a Nation Thailand report. It lies off the coast of Koh Mook, in the Kantang district, with Attapon Charoenchansa, the department’s acting director-general, saying officials hope it will protect dugongs and their feeding area from tourist encroachment.
The area is marked by 16 buoys, with officials monitoring nearby marine traffic to ensure the dugongs are not disturbed.
With a coastline of around 20 kilometres in length, Hat Chao Mai National Park was declared a national marine park in October 1982. It includes the Trang districts of Kantang and Sikao, and is renowned for its mangroves, limestone, and numerous picturesque islands.
One of those islands, Koh Kradan, was voted the world’s best beach by the World Beach Guide earlier this year. Meanwhile, nearby Koh Mook is also a huge tourist draw. The island’s emerald cave, Tham Morakot, is particularly popular on Valentine’s Day, when couples visit to get married under water.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand