Upsides of the Pandemic: Sea Turtles Are Thriving After Beach Closures

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Baby leatherback sea turtles make their way to the ocean as soon as they hatch.
(Image: © VW Pics via Getty Images)

Wildlife around the world is enjoying the lack of human activity due to coronavirus lockdowns, and sea turtles are not excluded. According to CNN, beaches in Thailand have seen the largest number of turtle nests in two decades.

Kanokwan​ Homcha-ai, a supervisor at the Mai​ Khao Marine Turtle​ Foundation, said in a telephone interview with CNN on Monday that researchers have found 11 leatherback sea turtle nests on Phuket, which is the highest number of nests found in Thailand in 20 years. Phuket is Thailand’s most popular resort island, and the major tourist attraction has been on a strict lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. But Thailand’s beaches aren’t the only ones seeing an uptick in sea turtle populations.

Sea turtles are also thriving on beaches in Florida, according to researchers. Because of the lockdowns, there is less plastic, people, and vehicles on beaches. As a result, baby sea turtles appear to be less disoriented by artificial lights, said David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Gainesville, Florida, in an article written by CNN.

“It just depends on the behavior of people after the closures end,” Godfrey said. “And if there’s an excessive amount (of people) on the beaches, then more people means more interaction with turtles, which can be negative if they don’t follow the rules.”

Godfrey said that people should maintain a safe distance from turtles and refrain from using artificial lights.

So, as the human world keeps quiet, nature takes back over. 

Coronavirus lockdown measures are helping marine life regenerate, according to a foundation in Thailand.
Photo by Mongkhonsawat Leungvorapan/Reuters

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