published on 26 August 2020 in life

Fewer tourists, more turtle nests in Thailand

With empty beaches due to the decline in tourism as a result of the pandemic, protected species such as the hawksbill turtle and the green turtle have been able to nest without being disturbed in several places in the world and especially on the island of Koh Samui, the second largest of the Thai archipelago. Since February, in fact, 838 hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas), two species of sea turtle threatened with extinction, have been born, and other eggs are about to hatch. About fifty years ago, there were no roads on the island of Koh Samui, one of the largest islands of the Thai archipelago in Southeast Asia. Everything changed with the arrival of tourists, often more than two million a year. The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly reduced the flow of tourists, causing serious damage to the local economy, but bringing huge benefits for the environment. This increase in turtle nests raises high hopes for conservationists in the area who, like Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat of the University of Bangkok, are fighting for the protection of sea turtles. According to Thamrongnawasawat, a form of balance between tourism and nature must be achieved: it is not necessary to stop visiting the world, but neither is it necessary to do so in a way that is disrespectful to the organisms that inhabit it. The birth of the turtles has been a source of great enthusiasm among the islanders, who have committed themselves to building bamboo fences to protect the nests and watch over the eggs.

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