Rare turtles are building nests on empty Thailand beaches during coronavirus

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The number of rare leatherback sea turtles building nests on Thai beaches has reached a two-decade high with the area empty of tourists due to the coronavirus, according to the Phuket Marine Biological Center.

Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center, told Reuters the 11 turtle nests that authorities have found on the beaches since November are the most in about 20 years.

“This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans,” Kittiwatanawong told the news outlet, noting no such nests had been found in the preceding five years. “If we compare to the year before, we didn’t have this many spawn, because turtles have a high risk of getting killed by fishing gear and humans disturbing the beach.”

Thailand has seen 47 deaths and 2,792 infections from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University, prompting restrictions that range from a ban on international flights to calling on residents to remain at home. As a result, the nation’s tourist destinations have seen a large plunge in traffic.

Leatherbacks, the world’s largest species of sea turtles, are both considered a vulnerable species globally and listed as endangered in Thailand. They steered clear of the beaches when they were packed with tourists, relying on dark and quiet conditions. Staff at a national park in the southern province of Phang-Nga said they found 84 hatchlings in late March.

The reported nests are just the latest case of wildlife entering areas temporarily abandoned by humans due to the coronavirus.

Lockdowns have resulted in numerous other animals venturing into normally inhabited areas, including wild boars in Haifa, Israel, and deer wandering the suburbs of London, while swans and fish have been spotted in Venice’s canals while they are free of boat traffic.

In March,a herd of more than 100 goats invaded a small village in Wales amid the United Kingdom’s lockdown procedures.

Tags animals Coronavirus Environment Turtles

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