Phuket Turtle Shelter & Education Center To Begin Taking Shape
‘Sustainable Marine Tourism’ Children Given Groundbreaking Honor
Phuket– Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation on Friday, January 23 broke ground on the Marine Turtle Shelter & Education Center, a new facility located on-site at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa that will be dedicated to the protection and conservation of Phuket’s endangered sea turtles who face multiple threats from commercial fishing, consuming or becoming entangled in ocean litter and being hit by speedboats.
The groundbreaking honour was given to a group of 20 children and their parents from the Gecko Community School in Thalang, who have been learning about endangered marine species and are on a mission to raise awareness of sustainable marine tourism. The groundbreaking of the new Marine Turtle Shelter & Education Center was the first stop on the children’s ‘Ride for Sustainable Marine Tourism’ activity which then saw them continue on an 85 km journey by bicycle north to JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa.
The ride was also to help raise funds for the children to fly to Taiji in Japan at the end of January where, as the first ever Kid Cove Monitors, they will actively assist the Dolphin Project initiative which is working to stop the slaughter and capture of wild dolphins.
At JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa, the children and their parents visited the beach in front of the resort where a dolphin family recently beached themselves and were then rescued back to sea by the Phuket Marine Biological Center.
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa, Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and Gecko Community School are all working together to promote sustainable marine tourism.
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa’s General Manager – who is also Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation’s President – Oriol Montal said: “It is wonderful to see Phuket’s society actively working together to help the area’s turtle population and to promote sustainable marine tourism. The opening of the Marine Turtle Shelter & Education Center this year – which we are all very excited about – will propel these efforts to a new level.”
Due to open in conjunction with the 6th Mai Khao Turtle Release during Songkran 2015, the Marine Turtle Shelter & Education Center will be located at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa on land donated by the resort and its owning company the Minor Corporation. It will be the first resort in Asia-Pacific to have such a facility situated on-site. Resort guests and the general public will be able to see and interact with the turtles including being able to feed them, clean their tank and learn about their lifecycle, as well as help clean the beach and plant coral in the area.
Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation will run the center, under supervision of the Phuket Marine Biological Center and a Local Advisory Committee. The center will serve as a home for those injured turtles who are unable to return to the sea.
The wonderful work done by the foundation – an International Union for Conservation of Nature member organization – is possible thanks to financial support from the Phuket community and donations from guests at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club, Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach, Anantara Hotel and Resorts.