Popular tourist beaches in Thailand see large groups of rare turtles return for the first time in 20 years – The Sun

TOURIST beaches in Thailand have seen the largest groups of rare sea turtles for the first time in 20 years, as resorts are left deserted by holidaymakers.

Environmentalists have found the animals, which have been diminishing in recent years, make the biggest nests in decades on beaches in Phuket.

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 leatherback 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.

No such nests had been found for the previous five years.

He told Reuters: "This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans."

"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."

Kanokwan​ Homcha-ai, a supervisor at the Mai​ Khao Marine Turtle​ Foundation added to CNN: "Not just sea turtles, but other marine species such as dolphins and dugong that live in the region have also increased in numbers according to government survey."

Leatherbacks are the world's largest sea turtles and are considered endangered in Thailand, as they lay their eggs in dark and quiet areas – meaning they are scare when tourists populate the beaches.

Other parts of the world have seen wildlife take over often busy cities.

Jaguars, crocodiles and turtles have been spotted at resorts in Mexico often popular with holidaymakers, wild boars were seen in the city of Haifa in Israeli and deer have ventured further into London suburbs.

Goats escaped a farm in Wales and were even caught wandering the streets, before police were called, and a wolf was seen in Normandy for the first time in a century.

Cities and tourist attractions around the world have been left empty due to coronavirus, as lockdowns warn people to avoid non-essential travel.

Locations around the UK are now devoid of visitors, with Brighton shutting roads to allow locals to social distance while running.

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