Sirinat National Park
|Sirinat National Park|
|Location||Phuket Province, Thailand|
|Area||90 km2 (35 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation|
The park's total area is 90 square kilometres (35 sq mi), with 68 square kilometres (26 sq mi) of marine area and 22 square kilometres (8.5 sq mi) land-based. The park includes four main beaches: Hat Nai Thon, Hat Nai Yang, Hat Mai Khao, and Hat Sai Kaeo. Hat Mai Khao is Phuket's longest beach.
The park was originally known as Nai Yang National Park and became Thailand's 51st national park on 13 July 1981. It was renamed Sirinat National Park in 1992.
A 2014 Bangkok Post editorial said that, "The latest questionable development in the sad saga of Sirinat National Park in Phuket province raises serious and vexing issues. Among the most pertinent is the old paradox of "Who will watch the watchers?" The Royal Thai Navy has moved into the precious park on the pretext of providing security. But the threats to this little jewel of national land are not physical, and heavily armed military men provide no solution at all".
In January 2016, it was reported that about 1,200 rai of Sirinat Park land was "detached" from the park by unscrupulous officials and sold to property developers, completed with illegal deeds, for 40 million baht per rai or approximately 50 billion baht in total. "The land had been detached from the national park so investers [sic] could build resorts and several well-known hotels,...", according to Mr Damrong Phidet, a former director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation Department.
Sirinat National Park is best known for its well-preserved white sand beaches. Also, Hat Mai Khao and Hat Nai Yang are both sea turtle nesting areas. Between November and February sea turtles come to lay eggs on these beaches.
Flora and fauna
The park's beach forests, approximately 2 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi) in area, consist of numerous tree species with the effect of providing a windbreak during tropical storms and stabilising the beach sands. Tree species include common ironwood, tulip tree, tropical almond, white barringtonia, cajeput tree, Alexandrian laurel, screwpine, ashoka tree, black plum, elephant apple and morning glory.
Sirinat National Park also hosts a small area (1 square kilometre) of mangrove forest, located where freshwater and seawater mix in estuarine areas. Tree species here include red mangrove, white mangrove, black mangrove, cannonball mangrove, looking-glass mangrove and Ceriops. Other plant species include Rhizophora apiculata and Derris trifoliata.
Coral reefs are located in the marine section of the park at a distance of 700 metres (2,300 ft) to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) offshore. Reef species include plate coral, soft coral, sea fan and sea anemone.
Formerly, leatherback sea turtles laid eggs on a stretch of beach in Sirinat National Park. At the park, 166 eggs were laid between 1999–2013, but the survival rate was small given the intensive property development along the beach. Since 2013 no further eggs have been observed there. Thailand was once a sanctuary for leatherback turtles.
- "Sirinat National Park". Department of National Parks (Thailand). Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Sirinat National Park". Tourism Authority of Thailand. Retrieved 23 June 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The fight to save Sirinat". Bangkok Post. 2014-09-23. Retrieved 27 January 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Crooked officials sold Phuket forest reserve land". Bangkok Post. 2016-01-18. Retrieved 27 January 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Wipatayotin, Apinya (4 December 2017). "Turtle power on wane as trawlers take toll". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 4 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)