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Seub Nakhasathien: Thailand’s Heroic Conservationist, Part 1 of 3



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“I would like to speak on behalf of wildlife because they cannot speak for themselves.” – Seub Nakhasathien

Legendary environmentalist and nature-lover Seub Nakhasathien is well-known for his important work in wildlife conservation and his tireless efforts to bring justice to the voiceless animal inhabitants of Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. Seub Nakhasathien was born “Seubyos” on December 31, 1949, in Tha Nga, Prachinburi Province, Thailand. His father was once the governor of Prachinburi. In 1979, Seub Nakhasathien was awarded a British Council scholarship to study Resource and Environmental Conservation at London University for his Master’s degree. After his studies, he was appointed wildlife evacuation project leader for the Cheow Lan Dam project.

Cheow Lan Dam was completed in 1987, and the resulting flooding destroyed 185 square kilometers (71 square miles) of lowland evergreen rainforest. A rescue operation was carried out to save some of the wildlife, including endangered species stranded on islands.

In 1989, Seub Nakhasathien was granted a PhD scholarship to study in the United Kingdom, but he accepted the post of superintendent of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand instead. When he took over the job, he courageously had to deal with poachers every day.

Most of Seub Nakhasathien’s adult life was spent studying wild animals, and he produced numerous academic papers on wildlife conservation. His reports were widely published, and to raise public awareness on the need to safeguard wildlife, he also often gave lectures and held exhibitions utilizing posters and photographs. He worked hard to protect the sanctuaries from deforestation and poaching, appealing to government agencies for support. He also prepared reports to propose the sanctuaries he was working in, become listed as Natural World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“One year after Mr. Seub’s death, Thungyai Naresuan-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries became a Natural World Heritage Site.”

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