Guests at Anantara Layan and Mai Khao and its sister property Avani+ in Phuket recently participated in the annual baby turtle and shark release programme in support of the conservation efforts of the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation (MKMTF) and the Phuket Marine Biology Centre (PMBC). 54 young green turtles ranging from 12 to 15 months old and 34 young bamboo sharks were released along the beaches where both Anantara Layan Resort and Anantara Mai Khao Villas are located.
The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation (MKMTF) was set up by Minor Hotels (the parent company of Anantara and Avani) to help rejuvenate the turtle population in Thailand. Phuket is home to Green Turtles, Leatherbacks, Hawk Bills and Olive Ridley, all of which are listed as either Endangered or Critically Endangered. Over 7000 have been released since the project began in 2002.
During the breeding season from November to February, marine turtles return to the beach they were born on to lay their eggs. Their numbers have been severely depleting over the last twenty years and the local Mai Khao and Layan villagers work hard to protect them. They take the eggs to the Phuket Marine Biology Centre hatchery where the baby turtles are protected from elements of nature and human exploitation and kept for a year to improve their chances of survival.
The Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) manages the nursery in order to strengthen the baby turtles and increase their chance of survival. At the nursery, the turtles are raised within tanks, receiving sufficient food and specialists’ constant care. After a year, when their shells are at least 20cm long, their bodies weigh over 2kg and their blood count and flippers are in the right condition, they are released back into the sea.
The Bamboo Shark breeding program is also led by Phuket Marine Biological Centre. After nine months of safety in the nursery, the bamboo sharks are released into the Andaman. Bamboo sharks are amongst the smallest of sharks, growing up to only one meter in length and harmless to humans. They are threatened due to poaching either for the dinner table or aquariums.
Guests can visit the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation next to Anantara Mai Khao each morning at 11.00 am and learn more about the life of a turtle from the resident marine biologists, Guests can further support the Foundation’s efforts to save the environment by donating 30 Baht per night during their stay under Anantara’s Dollars for Deeds CSR initiative.
For more information about the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and Anantara and Avani +’s annual release programs, please call +66 76 336 100 or email [email protected]