Island authorities are offering a bounty for whoever stole a clutch of eggs laid by a turtle just recovering from near extinction.
Since early Saturday, a group of thieves has stolen almost all the eggs – more than 50 – laid by leatherback turtles on Phang Nga provincial beach. The incident urged the authorities to not only hunt down the perpetrators, but offer Sunday a reward of THB100,000 (US$3,300) for information leading to their capture. Half of the bounty was offered by the marine department and national parks department and the other half by provincial governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada.
A protected animal in the kingdom, the leatherback turtle is considered by many marine experts to be the largest of all living turtles. The species’ population has been in rapid decline.
It takes months for leatherbacks to compete their egg-laying process, which females only repeat every two to five years, according to The Leatherback Trust. They incubate upward of two months before hatching.
In December 2018, one leatherback turtle laid almost 100 eggs on a Phang Nga beach, which was the first observed in five years.
Under the Wildlife Protection Act, those who steal or possess turtle eggs illegally face three to 15 years in jail and fines between THB300,000 and THB1.5 million.
Those who might have information related to the case are urged to call hotline 1362 or 081-797-0316.