Man sits on endangered coral reef

Over the past year, we were able to see the benefits that closing off tourist destinations has on certain ecosystems.

While the circumstances under which nature was given time to heal from handling multiple visitors year round, it’s still worth marveling at how large of a role we play in the state of the ecosystem.

Given how impactful our actions are, officials have implemented regulations aimed at incentivising tourists to act responsibly.

Take this case, where a man who sat on a coral reef may face jail time and a hefty fine.

Recent news on TSL:

Tourist sits on coral reef in Sattahip

On 13th February 2022, the story of a man who sat on Stone Coral, an endangered species of coral, in Sattahip was published on Bangkok Post.

According to the publication, Mr. Tisutr Rattanasathian posted this photo of himself on 12th February 2022.

Image credit: The Thaiger

The photo was then used as evidence by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in a legal complaint.

Should legal institutions find Mr. Rattanasathian guilty of endangering Thai resources, he could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of ฿1 million (~USD30,713).

The reef is protected under Thai law

The coral reef that Mr. Rattanasathian was pictured sitting on is protected under Thai law.

When the suspect was formally notified of the charges against him, Mr. Rattanasathian stated he had zero intention of damaging the reef. His aim was to take a picture showing nature’s beauty.

To the person in the picture, the coral looked more like a rock and less like a protected species.

Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints

We’ve all been encouraged to appreciate the planet for all its wonders as well as protect its finite resources.

While we can understand wanting to get up close and personal with nature’s beauty, it’s also worth noting that just touching something can be harmful.

In the case of coral, an extremely fragile species, any sort of contact can result in damage.

We hope that everyone involved in this story is able to move forward, and for the coral’s quick recovery.

Cover images adapted from: The Thaiger

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