Tour boat zone set up to protect dugongs

Tour boat zone set up to protect dugongs

Buoys off Koh Libong in Trang ensure boats will not get too close to rare sea mammals

Marine officials and fishermen install buoys in the sea off Trang to demarcate the area where boats must moor when they take tourists to view rare dugongs or phayoon. (Photo by Methee Muangkaew)
Marine officials and fishermen install buoys in the sea off Trang to demarcate the area where boats must moor when they take tourists to view rare dugongs or phayoon. (Photo by Methee Muangkaew)

TRANG: Marine officials and local residents have geared up to protect dugongs or phayoon by installing buoys off Koh Libong to demarcate the zone where tourists can safely view the rare sea mammals.

Chaipreuk Weerapong, head of the Koh Libong wildlife sanctuary, on Friday led officials, local fishermen and community leaders to install 10 floating buoys from the area in front of Khao Batu Bute to the dugong tower in tambon Koh Libong, connecting Laem Chu Hoi and Had Tup, a large seagrass habitat that is home to about 180 dugongs.

The floating devices were deemed necessary because too many boats offering trips to view the dugongs were getting too close to their fragile habitat. Residents and authorities were worried that noisy boat engines might disturb the animals and sharp propellers could endanger them further.

Mr Chaipreuk said the demarcation of a special zone was aimed at conserving seagrass areas and protecting dugongs. The installation of the 10 floating buoys covered 1,000 rai. Rules have been laid down for local residents to jointly take care of the endangered sea animals and to ensure the area is used for the maximum benefits of the community, he said.

Boats that take tourists to see dugongs are now required to moor outside the area where the buoys are installed, and to turn off their engines, he added.

Ten buoys have been installed off Koh Libong to keep tour boats from getting too close to dugongs. (Photos by Methee Muangkaew)


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