Artificial breeding aims to increase dolphin population in Songkhla Lake

Therefore, the department is investigating how dolphins in the lake can be inseminated by another herd.

Meanwhile, as a short-term measure, the department will closely monitor the lake and restrict public access, Varawut said.

He added that the department will also launch an awareness campaign among locals, especially fishermen, on the need to save the dolphins.

Varawut also called on all Thais to help preserve the country’s natural resources now that the country has reopened to tourists. He noted that over the past three years when the country was locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many areas have “healed” and are beautiful again. He said these areas can act as magnets to attract tourists.

Some 52% of coastal areas, especially dugong feeding sites, have been rehabilitated. He also said that there are now about 1.7 million rai of fertile mangrove forests.

This improvement has seen the dugong population increase to 255 from 221 in 2019, while sea turtle nests have increased to 502 from 373 in 2019. Additionally, rare animals like whale sharks are being spotted more often.

The government will also encourage the business sector to adopt a net zero emissions policy to combat climate change. He pointed out that climate change has led to increased ocean temperatures, coral bleaching and other environmental problems.

On whether the entrance fee to Maya Bay will be increased to protect the environment, he said the government would wait for the economy to pick up before discussing the measure.

As for breeders of red-whiskered bulbuls asking for the bird to be removed from the list of protected species, Varawut said the number of birds had increased because they were on the list. He fears that if they were removed from the list, their numbers would drop again.

However, he said, the government will later study the red-whiskered bulbul population and their threats before making a decision.