Mueang Kao Sukhothai – Thailand

Nature conservation for protecting cultural attraction : the case of invasive speciesin Mueang Kao, Sukhothai

The Sukhothai Historical Park, an UNESCO world heritage site and the main attraction of Mueang Kao Sukhothai, has been invaded by invasive species for many years which harms the landscape and scenery as well as aesthetics in the historical park. There have been 2 cases that were identified as the highest priority; (1) invasive catfishes in the pond of archaeological site brought in by visitors that bought them from a nearby fresh market and released them in the pond. (2) A flock of migratory egrets nesting inside the historical park, however, they are protected by law. These 2 issues have been successfully handled; as all hybrid catfishes were relocated, the pond is being renovated and the local ecosystem is being restored. Next to that there have been made adjustments to discourage the birds from nesting, which resulted in a decreasing number of the birds. To manage the complexity of nature that coexists with cultural heritage it can be regarded as a long-term experiment. This case shows that cultural issues and natural issues usually affect and associate to each other one way or another.

Keywords: invasive species ; conservation ; community ; sacred practices ; conservation ; fish ; birds

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