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Sea Turtles Flourish Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

Marine biologists find new nests
Credit: Associated Press

PHANG-NGA PROVINCE, Thailand — Coronavirus lockdown orders in Thailand are doing great things for that country’s sea turtle population.

The country is seeing a record number of baby leatherback sea turtles hatching while beaches remain undisturbed by tourists. The Phuket Marine Biological center has found 11 nests since November; the highest number in 20 years. Staff at a national park in the Phanga Nga province found 84 hatchlings in late March.

The leatherback turtle lays its eggs in dark areas without movement, which were rare when tourists enjoyed the beaches. People also take the eggs for consumption. Tourist numbers have dwindled in Thailand, dropping nearly 50% in February as countries imposed travel restrictions and a nationwide curfew was instated between 10 p.m and 4 a.m.

Thailand, which has reported a total 2,765 cases and 47 fatalities, has banned commercial passenger flights to the country until the end of April.