Khun Veeraphat, a waiter at Sands beachfront restaurant on Koh Samui, made a startling discovery in February when he spotted what appeared to be tracks coming from the sea.
CCTV footage at Banyan Tree Samui clearly showed a giant sea turtle laying eggs on the beach the night before, then returning to the water. The luxury hotel, located on the southeast tip of the island, immediately contacted the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, who arrived and uncovered two nests containing around 100 eggs belonging to a green sea turtle.
Then, later the mother turtle returned and laid a second clutch, this time numbering 141 eggs. This nest, however, was too close to the shoreline and so it was carefully dug up and relocated it on higher sands. Such a discovery on Koh Samui is rare; green turtles (Chelonia mydas) tend to lay their eggs on remote shores in the Andaman Sea – not at busy tourist resorts in the Gulf of Thailand.
However, this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does the hotel employ a CSR team headed by a marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw, but the resort was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.
The resort built an enclosure to keep the nest safe from monitor lizards and any other would-be predators. In the days that followed, the fenced-off pen became adopted by guests as a protected site.
“In this day and age when we hear so much about endangered marine life, it’s a fantastic feeling for all of us at the resort to feel we are giving something back,” said Remko Kroesen, general manager of Banyan Tree Samui.