Deserted Thai beaches lure rare turtles to build most nests in 20 years


  • World
  • Monday, 20 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: A newly-hatched baby leatherback sea turtle makes its way into a sea for the first time at a beach in Phanga Nga district, Thailand, March 27, 2020. Picture taken March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mongkhonsawat Leungvorapan

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has found the largest number of nests of rare leatherback sea turtles in two decades on beaches bereft of tourists because of the coronavirus pandemic, environmentalists say.

From wild boars patrolling the Israeli city of Haifa to deer venturing into London suburbs, virus closures are drawing wildlife into the abandoned streets of many cities.

In Thailand, with 2,765 infections and 47 deaths, travel curbs ranging from a ban on international flights to an appeal to citizens to stay home have brought a collapse in tourist numbers, but freed up the beaches for wildlife.

The 11 turtle nests authorities have found since last November were the highest number in 20 years, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center.

"This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans," he told Reuters. No such nests had been found for the previous 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."

Leatherbacks are the world's largest sea turtles. They are considered endangered in Thailand, and listed as a vulnerable species globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They lay their eggs in dark and quiet areas, scarce when tourists thronged the beaches. People have also been known to dig into their nests and steal eggs.

Late in March, staff at a national park in the southern province of Phanga Nga bordering the Andaman Sea found 84 hatchlings after monitoring eggs for two months.

(Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Australian police seize record $104 million heroin shipment
U.S. offers payments, relocation to family of Afghans killed in botched drone attack
British police says murder of lawmaker declared as a terrorist incident
U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travelers
Brazil pandemic probe to recommend Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, senator says
Two deaths shine spotlight on violence against women in Kenya
Shots fired in robbery attempt near Mexico City airport, suspect dead
Spanish court allows extradition of late Venezuela leader Chavez's aide to US
EU's Borrell says Iran wants to meet officials in Brussels over nuclear deal
Merkel says EU must resolve Polish problem in talks, not courts

Others Also Read


Vouchers