Nets, poachers threaten sea cow extinction
Trang's 150 sea cow population faced extinction in a few years from now, as trawlnets were still being used and gang hunting of the dugongs had been revived, a local activist warned yesterday.
He said dugong heads were selling for medicine-making at Bt15,000 a piece on the overseas black market.
Koh Libong Community's Tourism for Conservation Club head, Isma-an Bensa-ard, said 17 dugongs died last year and 11 carcasses had been found buried to harvest the bones. Most dugong deaths came from illegal fishing tool usage as seen in Kang Tang and Had Samran districts, while state agencies were not acting effectively due to work redundancies and negligence. At the same time orders from overseas for dugongs were prompting gangsters to hunt them, he said.
Andaman Marine and Coastal Resource Research and Development Centre official Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong agreed the dugong situation was in crisis and last year saw confirmed dugong deaths in Trang and one in Phuket.
They resulted mostly from dugongs being trapped in trawlnets, he said.