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Here is something that will keep nature lovers on the road for a while: a passport to all the national parks in Thailand!

Now before we start getting ahead of ourselves, let me first explain that this is not a “real” passport which allows free entrance to national parks throughout the country, nor does it allow special benefits of any kind. While it’s called a passport, the book is more like a souvenir or keepsake. Tourists who visit the park can present the booklet to the officer at the head office of the park they are visiting and receive a stamp of the park in their book, signifying that they have been to the park.

So in that case, yes, it is somewhat like a passport.

Birders may be puzzled as to why I am even throwing this idea out. After all, what does it have to do with birdwatching?

Truth be told, absolutely nothing.

My reason for promoting it is for the same reason I choose to utilize it: it acts as a motivation to visit new places.

Over 10% of Thailand’s land is reserved under the Forestry Act, and even more is designated as forest plantation. While most of the large parks have been surveyed by birders, many of the little forest parks and waterfalls are still relatively unknown to birders. Some of these sites just might be harboring a secret which is waiting to be uncovered, if only birders would take the time to visit them.

This idea can be substantiated by the discovery of Wallcreeper in Phu Chi Fah Forest Park in Chiang Rai. Before Mr. Manod Taengtum made this startling find, no one ever thought of Phu Chi Fah as a birding destination.

This is why I chose to buy this booklet. I hope that in visiting these various parks, I will not only learn about the fauna and flora of the site, but also gain key insight to what the park has to offer. –And who knows, perhaps it will lead me to discover something new as well!

There are plenty of national parks in Thailand. Most of them are managed by local RFD personnel who have no idea about birds. Having birders survey these sites will not only help to increase coverage but will help to promote conservation in places which may be lacking in motivation.

So apart from the cheesy idea of collecting stamps in a book, I find this concept to be a brilliant idea. In fact, I bought a whole bunch of books, one for each of my children, as I feel that it will be beneficial to them as well. Getting kids out into the wild and into these beautiful natural habitats may inspire them to pick up birding or at least become more aware of the environment and its needs. Watching about conservation and environmental awareness on Animal Planet is good, but it’s only one step. Kids should experience it for themselves as well.

-And so should us grown ups!

Those interested in purchasing a passport should contact the head office of any national park throughout the country. Since these books are rather new, it may take some time before they are distributed throughout the country, but most of the large national parks should already have a few in stock. The books cost between 100-150 baht a book and should be treated with care. (The covers are rather flimsy for a passport!)

-Don’t forget to pick one up next time you drop by a national park!

Categories: News

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