The pandemic has had an impact on a global scale as many countries have experienced lockdown and travel restrictions. For instance, Thailand was one of the first countries to stop all flights and internal travel. Travel restrictions have had a massive impact on the country, both economically and environmentally. Due to the international travel ban, no tourists were visiting, which contributed to decreased human activity. Nature lay undisturbed, skies and beaches were empty, which allowed nature to take a break (there were no dives nor hikes). As such, we have seen record numbers of turtles returning to the beaches to lay their eggs! Our partner DMCR (Department of Marine and Coastal Resources) provided 24-hour surveillance over the nests and have shared webcam footage of nests hatching on social media! This has led to an increased interest in turtles and the value they add.
Our work of education in and around our community is valuable to provide people information about the turtles and inform them of the threats they face. We also educate on the small lifestyle choices that everyone can make to reduce the threats and increase the species survival rate.
Furthermore, DMCR has been busy planting mangroves to help restore the local coastline. We plan to visit our mangrove later this month. Thanks to your previous donations, we have been able to plant over 2,000 mangroves Look out for our next update to see how your mangrove is growing and providing a habitat for a threatened ecosystem.
We have been unable to continue our work directly with The Royal Thai Navy in the past year at the turtle rehabilatation centre. However, we have been frequently invited to check on the turtles and are pleased to say that the Navy and the turtles are doing well! And, improvements have been made, including a netting system around a new large tank to prevent the pine needles from entering the tank. It is projects like this that your funds help us complete!
The Royal Thai Navy is always looking for ways of increasing knowledge on sustainability and best practice. We were honoured to be invited to the opening of their first sustainable farm. This will help educate the officers and their families on the importance of growing their produce and how this can impact the environment. We look forward to working with the officers and their families to help deliver educational material in English to those who visit the farm. We need your help to be able to do this.
With the reduced number of tourists and restaurants being closed, there has been a drop in the demand for seafood. As a result, fewer boats have been fishing which gives the ocean a chance to recover. The practice of monitoring the reef, and the fish allows us to see the changes over time. Divers have seen record numbers of species and have noticed an improvement in the condition of the corals. Whilst we all want an end to the current pandemic, we also want to take the time and observe how nature continues to react. Some of the results from the travel reduction can already be seen. We hope that as things start to reopen, the lessons we have learnt are not lost.
In support of GVI Charitable Programs "The 6th Mass Extinction" campaign, we will also be joining nearly 500 other people around the world to help highlight the current conservation and climate crisis we all face, actions we can all take to help reduce the negative impact we are all having on the planet and raise funds to support critical conservation and climate action projects. We are conducting beach cleans to remove waste from the enviroonemnt, alongside our new local partners, Trash Hero Khao Lak. To support or donate to the campaign, please see the link below.
Lastly, we'd like to thank you all for all of your support so far and in the future. The work completed so far, and the future success of the project would not be possible without the help and support of people like you! Thank you.