Hotel acts act to protect nest
Khun Veeraphat, a waiter at Sands beachfront restaurant on Koh Samui, made a startling discovery on 13 February when he spotted what appeared to be tracks coming from the sea.
CCTV footage at Banyan Tree Samui clearly showed a giant sea turtle laying eggs on the beach the night before, then returning to the water. The luxury hotel, located on the southeast tip of the island, immediately contacted the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, who arrived and uncovered two nests containing around 100 eggs belonging to a green sea turtle.
Then, on 24 February, the mother turtle returned and laid a second clutch, this time numbering 141 eggs. This nest, however, was too close to the shoreline and so it was carefully dug up and relocated it on higher sands.
Such a discovery on Koh Samui is rare; green turtles (Chelonia mydas) tend to lay their eggs on remote shores in the Andaman Sea – not at busy tourist resorts in the Gulf of Thailand.
However, this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does Banyan Tree Samui employ a CSR (corporate social responsibility) team headed by a marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw, but the resort was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.
The resort built an enclosure to keep the nest safe from monitor lizards and any other would-be predators. In the days that followed, the fenced-off pen became adopted by guests as a protected site.
“We were very excited to find the clutch of eggs, but quickly realized that this was a precarious situation,” said Thepsuda. “Luckily, the Banyan Tree beach is situated in a private cove so tourists and vendors are not constantly walking by. The most immediate danger was the tide, but the turtle had fortunately buried her first clutch above the high-tide line. The second nest was too close to the shore so we carefully dug it up and moved it higher. The next danger was the monitor lizards who prey on turtle eggs. We had to ward off a large local lizard who had the nest in his sights.”
Green sea turtles generally weigh between 110 and 180 kg and measure about one meter in length. The gestation period for eggs is between 45 and 60 days, meaning that this clutch should hatch between 28 March and 12 April, which is the day before Thai New Year.
“In this day and age when we hear so much about endangered marine life, it’s a fantastic feeling for all of us at the resort to feel we are giving something back,” said Banyan Tree Samui General Manager Remko Kroesen.
About Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
The Banyan Tree Group is a leading international operator and developer of premium resorts, hotels, residences and spas, with a collection of award-winning brands. Banyan Tree offers a Sanctuary to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul in awe-inspiring locations around the globe. Rediscover the romance of travel as you journey to iconic destinations where authentic, memorable experiences await. Angsana brings the adventure back into travel whatever your age or reason to visit. Intertwining local chic and a vibrant fun-filled atmosphere, Angsana offers amazing destination playgrounds across the world. Cassia is a bold new proposition in the extended stay sector, offering stylish, cutting edge hotel residences for holidays and business travel. It offers incredible choice for families, friends and couples. Dhawa is a casual and contemporary full-service hotel that fuses imaginative design, absolute comfort and seamless technology into a single stay experience. It curates a plethora of choices to achieve a truly customised stay.
To date, the Banyan Tree Group manages and/or has ownership interests in over 47 hotels and resorts, 63 spas, 73 retail galleries; as well as three golf courses in 24 countries.
A nest containing over 100 turtle eggs, which was discovered on the beachfront at Banyan Tree Samui.
A monitor lizard on the scent of the turtle eggs
An enclosure was built to protect the eggs.