Koh Tao Sea Turtle Head-starting and Rehabilitation: Project Updates and Request for Extension

Download the PDF here: Scott, C.M. 2014. Koh Tao Sea Turtle Head-starting and Rehabilitation: Project Updates and Request for Extension. NHRCP. 13 pp

 

Introduction

The New Heaven Reef Conservation Program (NHRCP) was started at the New Heaven Dive School to encourage and promote reef research, protection, and restoration. The NHRCP carries out daily projects including monitoring the reefs, maintaining coral nurseries and artificial reefs, installing and maintaining mooring buoys, maintaining a giant clam nursery program, testing water quality, coral rehabilitation, coral larval culturing, and much more. For the last 12-15 years the Royal Thai Navy has been conducting an annual sea turtle release program on the island of Koh Tao, alongside the local community. In April of 2012, 24 of the sea turtles which for the annual release where found to be sick and covered in infections. Some of the turtles were in such a bad state of health that they barely moved and did not eat. Under the guidance and recommendations Dr. Nantarika Chansue of the Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animal Research Center at Chulalongkorn University, it was decided that the turtles were too sick to be released, and wree in dire need of rehabilitation if they were to survive. By May of 2012, we had constructed large sea turtle holding ponds including a flow through tanks to allow constant water change over, mechanical and biological filtration to maintain water quality, and a macro-algae pond to both remove nutrients in the water (that contribute to disease and bacterial growth) and provide a natural food source for the juvenile turtles. Every effort was made to simulate the natural conditions for the sea turtle’s development and health. Following the success of this program, we are requesting to continue the project into the future for both Hawksbill and Green Sea turtles to work alongside the Royal Thai Navy to help restore local populations of these endangered species in the Gulf of Thailand.