Endangered turtle numbers hit two-decade high amid virus lockdown

While our social lives have hit a brick wall over the past month, the creatures of our planet are having a party.

Mother Nature is thriving amid the virus lockdown as beaches and national parks close and the planet is suffering less pollution as we leave our cars at home and factory doors are shut.

Wildlife experts across the world are reporting a significant increase in the number of Leatherback turtle nests and marine center staff are celebrating.

Researchers with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida, say 2020 is “going to be a really good year” for the sea turtles that nest there, as per WBIR-TV’s 10 News.

NOAA Fisheries

The wildlife-loving team recorded 79 sea turtle nests along the 9.5-mile stretch of beach — 76 leatherback nests and three loggerhead nests, as of April 18.

Sarah Hirsch, senior manager of research and data at the center, said that number is a significant increase from the same period last year.

“Our leatherbacks are coming in strong this year,” Sarah told WPEC.

Leatherback turtles are the largest on Earth and are the only turtles that don’t have a hard shell on their backs. They’re listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 

Florida updates sea turtle nesting totals for 2018
WINK News/Wikipedia

The beach is closed to the global pandemic so the risk of any disturbance to the nests is low.

“Our world has changed, but these turtles have been doing this for millions of years and it’s just reassuring and gives us hope that the world is still going on,” Sarah said.

In Thailand, where beaches are also closed, The Phuket Marine Biological Center said it found 11 nests since November, which is the highest number in 20 years.

Leatherback Turtle — The State of the World's Sea Turtles | SWOT

And, staff at a national park in the Phanga Nga province found 84 hatchlings at the end of March.

Researchers say they are working in small groups, wearing protective masks and wiping things down that other people might be touching, to complete their work monitoring the nesting turtles.

In these very strange times there is good news that our beautiful wildlife is thriving, this is something in which we can all take comfort.

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