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Turtles released at Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi Leh’s- Maya Bay Beach has been a controversial topic in recent years. The bay is still closed. However, tourists are still able to visit the National Park to swim and snorkel along the outskirts of the bay. A rope strung across the bay prevents visitors from getting close to the beach. The popular local opinion, shared amongst most is that the bay should not re-open anytime soon; and definitely not under the same unregulated circumstances.

Wednesday 1 January 2020, 12:00AM

Thankfully, since the closure in July 2018- profound changes are showing at “The Beach”. And it’s looking more and more plausible that Maya Bay can recover; given enough time and hard work. Recently released photographs show nature is beginning to reclaim the beach.

Maya Bay is Recovering, But May Never Be Ready For Tourism.  Blacktip reef sharks are once-again being sighted swimming close to the beach on a more regular basis. And Scuba teams have been working hard to replant nurseries of coral, in what is considered as the largest natural coral rehabilitation project ever.

The latest plans from the Department of National Parks (DNP) are to re-open the beach in 2021. With advance bookings needed, a cap on the visitor numbers and a new pier built at Loh Samah- allowing for access to Maya Bay without the need for boats to dock on the beach.

However, many of the local people involved with the rehabilitation program believe the predicted 2021 date is far too early. While it’s evident that the bay is recovering; it’s a slow process and three years is simply not enough time for the bay to recover fully.

Boxing day 2019, marked the 15th anniversary of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami as part of the Maya Bay rehabilitation and to mark the unforgettable day of 2004; nine sea turtles were successfully released at Koh Phi Phi Leh’s National Marine Park.

The Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turtles, have been raised in captivity in a nearby Phuket aquarium. Local business owners and boat owners teamed up with the DNP working together to arrange the sea animals to be released into the wild- at the deserted May Bay, Five Star Thailand Tours were invited along to witness & document the release.

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Thailands DNP played a significant role and cooperated in coordinating the project- temporarily allowing access onto the beach for the release. The passion and care that the DNP team have for the area is astonishing. Worldwide, it’s a rare thing when preservation is put in front of profits- but it’s incredible to see the efforts and hard work being put in by the teams at Maya Bay. However, Maya Bay (‘The Beach’) is no-where near ready to be opened again- and perhaps it never will be. Should it ever re-open? Is it not better for everyone ‘to be in the same boat‘, to view the beach from afar? Do we deserve this paradise beach?- Can visitors be trusted? Can tourists, be educated, on how to preserve nature? And, in a place, most will never return to; do they even care?

Speaking to the Guardian; Tour Guide, Spicy, from Phuket, has seen the issues first-hand while the bay was open: “The problem with people is that they are too greedy. They see a beautiful place and they want it. They take, take, take from nature. And then they destroy it.”

The corals and fish that used to be visible when snorkeling have all but disappeared, she said, yet tourists still insist on taking bits of coral to feed the fish, which is illegal as it stops the fish cleaning the coral, causing it to die.

“Most people don’t care – they want to see the fish, so they feed them anyway,” she said. “All the tourists will try to take everything and see everything they possibly can in the short time, and they don’t really care about the cost to nature. I have had so many arguments with tourists, asking them not to take the coral.”

Source: Five Star Thailand Tours

See original story here: https://fivestarthailandtours.com/sea-turtles-released-at-maya-bay/

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