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Too popular

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Recent photos and videos of Bryde whales off the Phetchaburi coast have made whale-watching a very popular activity -- too popular, say some experts. 

Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd

Click button to listen to Bryde whales and rightclick to download

Too popular

Recent photos and videos of Bryde whales off the Phetchaburi coast have made whale-watching a very popular activity.

Too popular, say some experts who worry the influx of whale watchers to the upper Gulf of Thailand could scare the marine animals away from the ecologically fragile area.

Conservation groups have asked boat operators to proceed with caution. They say too many boats could disturb the whales' habitat.

"An increase in tourists might affect the Bryde's whales, especially mother whales and their offspring," said Vorapol Dounglomjan, leader of the Upper Gulf Conservation Network.

He said whale-watching guidelines are needed to prevent the activity harming marine life.

His group has proposed limiting whale and dolphin watchers to three or four locations to minimise the risk of disturbing the animals.

Boat operators would not be allowed to take tourists to other areas.

The group also proposed designating a 10.45 square kilometre area in the upper gulf as a conservation area which is off-limits to tourism activities.

The area covers mud flats and parts of the sea where marine animals go to feed. Migratory birds can also be found there.

''We need to provide some quiet zones for marine animals, especially whales and dolphins, or we might not see them again,'' said Mr Vorapol.

Bancha Wadwaree, a seafood restaurant owner of Ban Klong Mai who provides a free boat service for Bryde's whale watchers, played down the impact of whale-watching activities on marine life.

''We have a regulation that boat operators must not get too close to the whales.

''We will try our best to protect them since locals regard them as auspicious animals that will bring us luck,'' said Mr Bancha.

However, he agreed that strict regulations were needed if more boat service operators were to start work in the upper gulf as their activities could pose a threat to the ecological system.

popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
coast – an area of land beside the sea ชายฝั่ง
influx – a large number of people or things coming in to a place การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า  (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
scare –  to make someone feel frightened or worried ทำให้กลัว
marine – relating to the sea and creatures that live in it เกี่ยวกับทะเล
ecology – the relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตในระบบนิเวศน์
fragile – weak; easy to damage or break ที่เปราะบาง ไม่แข็งแรงคงทน, ไม่ทนทาน, เสียหายง่าย
conservation – the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
proceed – to continue doing something ดำเนินการ
caution – careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger ความระมัดระวัง
disturb – to move or change something from its usual position, arrangement, condition or shape รบกวน
habitat – the type of place that a particular animal usually lives in or a particular plant usually grows in ถิ่นที่อยู่ของพืชหรือสัตว์
offspring – the baby or babies of an animal; someone’s child or children ลูกสัตว์,ทายาท,บุตร,ผู้สืบเชื้อสาย, ลูกสัตว์
guidelines – official instructions or advice about how to do something สิ่งที่ช่วยแนะแนวทางให้ปฏิบัติ
dolphin – a large sea animal, similar to a fish, with a long nose ปลาโลมา
minimise – to reduce something harmful or unpleasant to the smallest amount or degree  ลดจำนวนลง
risk – danger ความเสี่ยง
designate – chosen for a particular purpose กำหนด
off-limits – (of a place or area of land) not allowed to enter ที่ห้ามเข้า,ที่ไม่อนุญาตให้ผ่านเข้าไป
flats – a large area of flat land naturally covered with soemthing like mud or salt  ที่ราบ, พื้นราบ
migratory – of a bird or animal is one that migrates, i.e., that travels to another part of the world for warmer weather at a particular time of the year ซึ่งร่อนเร่พเนจร, ซึ่งอพยพ
play down – to discount; to try to make something seem less important or serious than it really is
impact – an effect or influence  ผลกระทบ
regulation – an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ
regard – to consider or have an opinion about something or someone เห็นว่า,ถือว่า
auspicious - suggesting a positive and successful future ที่มีฤกษ์ดี
strict – very careful and exact เข้มงวด
pose a threat – to be a possible danger กระทำการซึ่งอาจก่อให้เกิดอันตรายต่อ

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