Officials see storks delivering for tourism in Rayong

Friday, 20 September 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 38 By  Patcharapol Panrak

Rayong government, cultural and tourism officials searching for new eco-tourism destinations expressed shock and delight after discovering a flock of open-billed storks are using the Rayong River as a habitat.

Wanna Bantherngsukh, health and environment scholar from the Citizen’s Health Assembly, Saeree Suwanvijit, Rayong Council member, Chaleaw Ratchaburi, president of the Rayong Cultural Council, Saowanee Wiyabun, director of Rayong’s Tourism Destination Coordination Center, and Konakorn Jumpathong of the Rayong River Preservation Group returned from a Sept. 11 boat trip with the surprising news that the birds, never seen in Rayong before, were roosting and searching for food along a stretch of the Rayong River.

A flock of open-billed storks have been found roosting and searching for food along a stretch of the Rayong River.  This is being billed as a first for the area.A flock of open-billed storks have been found roosting and searching for food along a stretch of the Rayong River.  This is being billed as a first for the area.

The officials had been trawling for new eco-tourism selling points to add to the local tourist calendar and did not expect to find the flock of storks near Suanwat in the Nakhorn Rayong municipality. The river banks are full of morning glory and water mimosa grown by local residents and the birds were feeding there on apple snails and other food.

Wattana said the birds are quiet and don’t create a nuisance among neighbors. The habitat, along with the community’s pagoda and mangrove forests, can be sold as ecotourism points, he said. The question will be whether a throng of tourists will scare away the birds.

Wattana said officials will monitor the birds’ movements and he urged residents not to bother or drive away the storks.

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