The second quarter of the year saw the world on lockdown due to COVID-19, whilst Thailand banned all international travel and closed its borders. It also closed all National Parks and restricted inter province travel, meaning that there was a lot less internal travel as well as the number of people within Thailand.
As COVID-19 took hold on the world, the wildlife in Thailand took the opportunity to thrive. This year has seen the greatest number of sea turtles returning to the beaches to lay their eggs, this has included Leatherback, Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley. Research is now taking place to see if this is due to the reduction in numbers of people on the beach? The reduction of light pollution due to hotels and restaurants being closed? Stability after the 2004 tsunami? Increased numbers of the species surviving in the wild?
Our marine national parks usually close May-Oct, this year they have benefitted from a longer break. With no news on the return of international travel this break may be extended further, or at least a vastly reduced number of visitors.
August 2020 Ban Nam Khem had a visit from two dolphins, they had got caught in the rocks and were injured. The Phuket Marine Biological Centre were quickly informed and came to rescue them. The initial work provided by the community was vital in saving the lives of the dolphins. They were taken to Phuket for specialist care and I am pleased to report that both have now returned to the ocean.
Overfishing is a big problem throughout the world, living in a fishing village it's been good to see the reduction in the number of trips taken by the fishing boats, the number of shrimp and lobster farms has also reduced due to the reduction of demand. This will have an impact on so many different areas of conservation.
DMCR have continued their work after an initial break, they have continued organising beach cleans and mangrove planting. It's been great to see them throughout the region. They have certainly had a great impact even in exceedingly difficult times. Monsoon rains had started as usually this brought up large amounts of trash onto our beaches. Just a couple of weeks ago on a beach clean we found a yogurt pot from 1987, showing just how long the plastic lasts. A recent study was completed, and 47 humans were found to have plastic in all their organs. This information is horrifying and pushes us to reduce the amount of plastic used and find ways to reuse and recycle what we already have in circulation.
There are many National Parks in Thailand that have remained closed, it will be extremely exciting to return and see how the ecosystems have developed and changed with the lack of disturbance.
We hope to return to education soon and increase our impact on the surrounding areas of Ban Nam Khem.
We also hope that in light of the pandemic people attitudes will shift and new hope is given to our very fragile world.
Thank you for all your donations, we really need them to keep our work going and to expand the knowledge of the local and global communities.