Conflicting impact on Thailand’s wildlife as a result of the coronavirus

Conflicting impact on Thailand's wildlife as a result of the coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted life in Thailand beyond recognition and the aftereffects could last many years, if not forever.

The effects of lockdowns, closures, and staying at home have also had an enormous impact on the wildlife of Thailand – both good and bad.

With the beaches along Thailand’s southern coast deserted by humans, an opportunity has been presented for rare leatherback turtles to make an appearance in numbers.

These turtles are usually frightened away by packed beaches, rammed from dusk until dawn with tourists soaking up the hot Thai sun. However, the closure of all beaches has allowed the world’s largest sea turtles to return and nest along the Thai coast.

More than 11 turtle nests have been found representing the highest number in 20 years and offering hope for large numbers of offspring to survive and replenish the population of these beautiful creatures.

A similar scenario is playing out off the shores of Thailand as dugongs, dolphins, and other marine life reclaim the waters that are usually busy with fishing boats and jet-skis.

However, not all animals are enjoying the effects of less activity during the coronavirus lockdown.

Elephants in more than 85 camps across Northern Thailand are at risk of starvation as owners struggle to find food without any tourism income.

The crisis has led to elephants being dropped off at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai where the numbers are quickly closing in on 100 due to the inability of camp owners to care for their star attractions anymore.

Across Thailand, more than 2,500 elephants are held captive for entertaining tourists. However, with each elephant needing to eat about 400 kilograms of food every day, the cost of keeping their stomachs full without income is almost impossible.

With so many elephants being dropped off at sanctuaries, they are now struggling to feed all of the starving animals without any paying visitors.

While riding elephants and using them for circus tricks is an issue that many animal rights groups disagree with, these animals are at serious risk of dying from starvation without any income to feed them.

You can donate to the Elephant Nature Park which rescues elephants in Northern Thailand by visiting their website.

Sources: Reuters & Facebook/ElephantNaturePark

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