Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

Are there any manatees left at Thailand's coasts?


Recommended Posts

Also known as dugongs. Here's a sobering article about manatees, though it's from 6 yrs ago.

How to get Asians to view manatees for what they are (fascinating, peaceful, vegetarian sea mammals instead of a source of money, talismans, meat and voodoo cures - mostly for Chinese.

Are there any manatee sanctuaries in Thailand? If not, I'd be willing to do what I can to help start one - though I'm based in northernmost Thailand.

On a side note: I visited Sri Lanka recently. I only traveled a small portion of their coast, but noticed quite a few sea turtle hatcheries, about one every 50 miles. The hatcheries also attract some tourist money. The one I visited, focused on 4 main types of sea turtles. The manager said that he offers to buy eggs for a bit more than harvesters can sell the eggs to local markets - but it's a constant challenge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see an online tourist blurb about Trang which mentions manatees. Apparently, Trang is the only coastal area of Thailand which may have 'em. If someone has other info, let's hear it. If there are but a few remaining manatees, it would be cool if Trang city fathers could put together a bona fide sancturary for them. Thais revere elephants. Tell 'em manatees are cousins to elephants. You could even say they're the 'elephants of the sea' as they share many characteristics. Large, slow moving vegetarian mammals, same color, sensitive noses, stay in groups, mothers nurse their young, ......

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rapayoon or similar phonetics is the thai word.

Was the name of my old speed boat down south, cant recall the exact place they were supposed to be but near Trang at least 8 years ago, maybe still.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt there's any left. Barely any tourists left due to being run over by boats.

They are pretty neat to watch & enjoy.

If you ever find yourself in Florida to see Mickey Mouse in the winter time, look up Blue Springs north of Orlando (in a small town named Debary).

The manatees flock (herd?) in there in the winter due to the relatively warm spring water.

No swimming allowed that time of year there but they have a nice boardwalk where you can see 1,000 pounders grazing like cattle on seaweed/grass in crystal clear water.

Heaven help you if you're driving a boat & speeding in a "No Wake" zone around there. The cops will make your life miserable pretty quick.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Also known as dugongs. Here's a sobering article about manatees, though it's from 6 yrs ago.

How to get Asians to view manatees for what they are (fascinating, peaceful, vegetarian sea mammals instead of a source of money, talismans, meat and voodoo cures - mostly for Chinese.

Are there any manatee sanctuaries in Thailand? If not, I'd be willing to do what I can to help start one - though I'm based in northernmost Thailand.

On a side note: I visited Sri Lanka recently. I only traveled a small portion of their coast, but noticed quite a few sea turtle hatcheries, about one every 50 miles. The hatcheries also attract some tourist money. The one I visited, focused on 4 main types of sea turtles. The manager said that he offers to buy eggs for a bit more than harvesters can sell the eggs to local markets - but it's a constant challenge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee,................and I thought Manatees where only native to Florida around Miami!

Apparently they inhabit coastal areas in many parts of the world - or used to until people over-ran them

Yep, I got one just the other day. It fed our family plus the neighbours for two days. Delicious!

Is that supposed to be funny? If true, then you can count yourself among Chinese - who are decimating entire species of beasts, as fast as they can. Would you like a bit of pulverized tiger penis on the side?
Link to post
Share on other sites

There's still a viable population in southern Thailand.

A Phuket Marine Biology Dept did a recent survey with a local flying school providing an aircraft and pilot so they could do some aerial spotting.

There's some photos on the By The Air FB page, scroll down to 21st & 22nd Feb entries on their timeline to view.

Hope this helps.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll say it again: If some good folks around Trang (that appears to be where some remaining manatees are) could get one or more lagoons set aside specifically to safe-guard manatees - that would be win-win for more than just the manatees. I suspect there's already some safeguard regulations re; the beasts, but (knowing Thailand) they're probably lukewarm and loosely enforced, if enforced at all.

Interested folks could take a trip to (or research) Florida, where manatee protection is taken seriously. The resulting safe havens for them have become tourist magnets. As mentioned in a post above, there's at least one place where well-built 'boardwalks' or walkways make it easy for visitors and families to view the gentle giants. I saw a recent feature in National Geographic where one of those sanctuaries allowed wading kayakers and even bathers to get within touching distance of the beasts. I wouldn't recommend Thailand allow that much proximity, but walkways would be cool. Thailand would like to see itself as attracting environmentally conscious tourists, but in reality, there's little that Thailand has to offer for environmentalists currently. Thailand won't ever become a Galapagos Island or Alaska, in terms of viewing untrampled nature, but it could improve its image in that regard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's still a viable population in southern Thailand.

A Phuket Marine Biology Dept did a recent survey with a local flying school providing an aircraft and pilot so they could do some aerial spotting.

There's some photos on the By The Air FB page, scroll down to 21st & 22nd Feb entries on their timeline to view.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for that. It's encouraging and sad at the same time. Encouraging, because there are some good folks doing something to try and bring the issue (of possible extinction) to public awareness. Sad, because there were so few manatees/dugongs sighted. A healthy population should have dozens or hundreds of members. The photos showed 3 pair, each: a mother and calf. Here's another FB page which shows some other manatee stories worldwide, including a popular exhibit of live manatees (not metal statues, like what's found in Thailand). Natural habitat is better than a zoo setting, but I guess something is better than nothing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When discussing those aquatic mammals internationally, I'm finding it's more common to refer to them as dugongs, then as manatees ("a rose by any other name....."). It turns out they're endangered, not only along Thailand's coasts, but many other coastal regions. There are apparently some protections for them in Thailand, but more could be done, and existing laws could be enforced.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The manatees flock (herd?)

Maybe they school? Maybe if we try the options in sentence it will make sense.

"Hey look at that flock of manatees next to the flock of flamingos" No, that can't be right.

"What's the best herding dog for my herd of manatees?" No, that can't be right.

"A school of manatees was attacked by an extremist pod of killer whales in Paris this morning" No, also not good.

Maybe this is why they are endangered. A lack of gathering terminology prevents them from social networking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Collective noun for Dugong is a herd, or more rarely referred to as a 'nutcluster' (and yes, the even the scientists I once head 'nutcluster' from were reduced to pant-wetting hysterics and never used that term again)

Dugongs and Manatees are separate species. Dugongs are mostly found in the Indo-pacific and Indian Ocean. Manatees are pretty much confined to the Atlantic. Visually I can't tell the difference.

Many years ago I worked as an underwater cameraman for a documentary on Tiger Sharks. As part of the story we also spent considerable time observing and filming Dugongs. I found them absolutely fascinating to watch underwater, especially when feeding/grazing or with their young swimming alongside.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone recommend a special place along the coast near Trang, which would be suitable for a dugong sanctuary. It would likely have to be somewhat sheltered from surf, like a lagoon, and have sea grass. Note: dugongs are the only sea mammal that is vegetarian. Most of all, it would have to protectible from locals who would want to kill them and/or gouge out their eyes (for their voodoo reasons, or to sell to merchants who supply Chinese with endangered animal parts).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry guys there are no manatees in Thailand.

There are Dugongs and they are not the same.

A manatee has a tail like a spoon but a dugong has a tail like a fish.

Dugongs have been seen around Ao Nang occasionally and one was washed up dead last year in Krabi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just reading about Rhinos and the poachers in Africa, etc. Just recently, the last indigenous rhino in Vietnam was poached. Now they're extinct. But one item caught my eye. Some Asians also put magical powers for Rhino eyes (and a female's reproductive organs). ...which reminded me of how some primitive Thais, when they see a dugong, will go out and try to carve out its eyes for the same reasons: hocus pocus voodoo belief in some curative properties. That ridiculous and cruel wives tale could be a contributing factor to dugongs going extinct in Thailand. What can we do? Help establish sanctuaries for Thai dugongs? If anyone has some insight to that, please post here, or contact me.

It's too bad Thai politicians and rich business people don't care. It sure could help to have some funds to establish a sanctuary with guards. It would also generate added tourist revenue, and boost Thailand's sagging reputation in the view of environmentalists. Nearly all tourists are environmentally concerned, but TAT wouldn't know that. Their brochures still focus on golf, expensive resorts and shopping.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...