With Thailand’s Beaches Free of Tourists, Numbers of Rare Sea Turtle Nests Jump to 20-Year High

Thailand is witnessing the biggest number of rare leatherback sea turtle nets in 20 years after their popular beaches remain empty of tourists because of the coronavirus, explain environmentalists.

The travel bans and the social distancing measures in Thailand have reduced the number of tourists and opened up the beaches for the wildlife.

The 11 turtle nests that authorities have located as of November last year were the highest number that’s been witnessed in 20 years, said the Phuket Marine Biological Centre director.

He explained that this is a very good sign as many areas for spawning have been destroyed by people. In the previous 5 years, these nests couldn’t be located.

Leatherback Turtles Are Endangered & Vulnerable

Turtles have high risk of death by humans or fishing gear. The leatherback turtles are the biggest sea turtles in the world and they’re listed as endangered in Thailand and vulnerable by the IUCN.

This species is known to lay eggs in quiet and dark parts, which was rarely the case with the plunges of tourists. According to statistics, Thailand yearly attracts around 30 to 40 million international tourists.

Unfortunately, some people have also dug holes into the nests and stolen the eggs.

In late March, the national park staff in the south of Phang Nga discovered 84 hatchlings after they monitored the eggs for 2 months.

The females appear on the beach and using their rear flippers, they make a nest before they deposit 100 eggs into it and then backfill it to hide it from predators.

In the nesting season, the females repeat the process every 10 days- they nest in intervals, ranging from 2 to 7 years.

Not the Only Successful Story about Turtles

The Thailand nests of this turtle species isn’t the only positive story about them after the coronavirus appeared-last month, in the eastern coast of India, more than 475,000 endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles dug nests and laid their eggs.

According to authorities, the turtles are on the path of laying around 60 million eggs this year only. Also, in Brazil, around 100 hawksbill sea turtles hatched on the beaches in the Paulista city.

Sources:

THE GUARDIAN

HASAN JASIM

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