JW Marriott Phuket gets ready for fifth turtle release, launch of new shelter

Posted on April 11, 2014

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JW Marriott Phuket is preparing for its 5th Mai Khao Turtle Release, to be held on April 13, Songkran – Thai New Year’s Day – at Mai Khao Beach in the north of the island.

Organized by the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, a partner of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, this important annual event raises funds and awareness for the plight of Phuket’s critically endangered sea turtles.

Taking place on the resort’s beachfront, the release will see a new batch of rehabilitated green turtles introduced back into the Andaman Sea.
“Actually, the turtle release has been a [Thai] new year’s tradition in the local community for decades,” explained Sean Panton, JW Marriot’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility.

“Now the community joins our own release at the resort, which continues to serve as a valuable tool for educating the local community and guests alike.”

Phuket residents, local officials and resort staff are invited to join what promises to be a fun and inspirational experience. In doing so they will be helping to protect the area’s endangered turtle population, he added.

Every B2,500 raised through donations pays for the rehabilitation of one turtle and its release back into nature.

Phuket’s sea turtles face multiple threats and their numbers have been severely depleted in recent years. Commercial fishing kills thousands of them every year. Many more die from eating or becoming trapped in plastic debris littering the ocean, from entanglement in fishing nets and being hit by speedboats.

“The annual Mai Khao Turtle Release is symbolic of the wonderful work being done by the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and all parties involved, in preserving the beautiful natural environment we have here”, said JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa’s General Manager Oriol Montal.

This year’s release follows recent government approval to build the Marine Turtle Rehabilitation Shelter & Education Center on-site at JW Marriott Phuket.The new shelter will be developed with a budget of approximately B5 million and is aimed to open by the second quarter of 2015.

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