S Hotels and Resorts PCL, the global hospitality company from Singha Estate PCL, continues to advance the marine conservation agenda with the launch of an important new collaboration with Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) to breed, care for and release bamboo sharks in southern Thailand.
Hosted by the Marine Discovery Centre at SAii Phi Phi Island Village, the free-spirited lifestyle resort on the idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi, the new SOS (Save Our Sharks) programme will see S Hotels & Resorts work hand-in-hand with experts from PMBC. Together, they will oversee every stage of the bamboo sharks’ development, from incubating eggs and nurturing them at the resort’s Shark Nursery Pond, to releasing the juveniles back into their natural environment.
This is the latest in a series of campaigns led by the Marine Discovery Centre, an innovative facility which serves as the nerve centre of SAii Phi Phi Island Village’s environmental efforts. This interactive hub houses indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, video rooms and aquariums, presenting a fascinating window into the underwater world and driving key projects such as coral propagation, mangrove planting, and breeding and release programmes for native fauna.
Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer of S Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are proud to join forces with Phuket Marine Biological Center on this critical project. Bamboo sharks are classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so the SOS programme will play a crucial role in safeguarding a keystone species. This forms part of our company’s pledge to the planet, which is guided by our support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the SDG14, ‘Life Below Water’, which focuses on the world’s oceans, seas and rivers.
“Our Marine Discovery Centres at SAii Phi Phi Island Village and SAii Lagoon Maldives play a crucial role in the preservation of their underwater ecosystems and the protection of wildlife. Led by resident marine biologists, they also educate our guests and local residents in our communities about the importance of conservation. We look forward to cooperating with our friends and colleagues at PMBC to save southern Thailand’s bamboo sharks,” Mr. De Cuyper added.
Dr. Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, Director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, commented: “Our center has trusted in the capability and expertise of Singha Estate in terms of marine life conservations considering the company’s experiences from the past projects. Besides, the company has employed many marine scientists and staff at Marine Discovery Centre, who have capabilities to take care of Bamboo shark eggs until they become juveniles”
S Hotels & Resorts and Singha Estate have collaborated on many successful marine conservation campaigns. The “Phi Phi Is Changing” project is aiming to solve the issue of coral bleaching, while the “Toh Wai Wai” is helping to release clownfish, propagate coral and plant mangrove trees in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. In addition, a new partnership with Kasetsart University is using drones to monitor and photograph the coral reefs in the area. Earlier this year, the Marine Discovery Centre at SAii Phi Phi Island Village rescued and rehabilitated an injured bamboo shark and lionfish.
In the Maldives, coral propagation efforts by the Marine Discovery Centre team at SAii Lagoon Maldives led to a ten-fold expansion of the local reef, and the return of hawksbill sea turtles, scalloped hammerhead sharks and bottlenose wedgefish to the area. A pregnant Olive Ridley sea turtle was also found nesting on the beach in 2020 – the first recorded sighting of this species nesting in the Maldives.
S Hotels & Resorts has committed to abolishing single-use plastic, reducing waste, recycling water and championing the use of sustainable and biodegradable products. With so many initiatives ongoing, it is no surprise that the group has won multiple awards, including the “Green Leadership” title at the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2020. SAii Phi Phi Island Village was the “Marine & Nature” winner in the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) UK Responsible Thailand Awards 2020, while Santiburi Koh Samui was awarded the 2020 – 2021 Green Hotel Award’s “Gold Level” – the only resort in Samui to achieve this level out of over 100 properties that applied.