Global  

Thailand's tourist drought leaves space for shy sea mammal

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 23 April 2020
BANGKOK (AP) — It's rare to see a threatened species of sea mammal in shallow waters in southern Thailand but thanks to travel restrictions that have stripped popular destinations of crowds of tourists, a large group of dugongs has made their presence known.

Drone video footage released by the Department of National Parks shows a 30-strong herd of dugongs on Wednesday off Libong island in Trang province. They were feeding on sea grass and occasionally surfaced to breathe.

Naturalists report other marine animals are also taking advantage of the tourism slump that is leaving coastal regions tranquil and undisturbed.

Human intrusion and marine pollution have made dugong sightings in southern Thailand rare in recent years.

“It’s quite unusual,” marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat told The Associated Press on Thursday when asked about the dugongs. “This species of mammal is very sensitive to speed boats and people. When they are gone, they feel free to gather in a large group and come close to shore.”

Dugongs – closely related to the manatee or sea cow – are officially classified as vulnerable. They can grow up to 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. Thailand’s population is put at around 250. Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters.

Their fate captured attention last June after images circulated of Thai veterinarians cuddling an ailing baby dugong and hand-feeding her with milk and sea grass.

Despite the care, she died two months later. An autopsy found a large amount of plastic waste in her intestines that had caused gastritis and blood infection.

Thon said there were also reports this week of large schools of sharks coming unusually close to shore in several places in southern Thailand, and a sighting of a pod of false...
0
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 
Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Published
News video: Thailand has record sea turtle hatches with no tourists

Thailand has record sea turtle hatches with no tourists 01:03

Thailand is seeing a record number of sea turtle hatches this year as the country's tourist numbers dwindle, leaving usually bustling beaches nearly empty and undisturbed. Gloria Tso reports.

You Might Like


Related videos from verified sources

Sea otter plays on deserted Thailand beach [Video]

Sea otter plays on deserted Thailand beach

A sea otter enjoyed frolicking on a deserted beach after coronavirus restrictions kept tourists away. The creature was rolling in the sand as the sea lapped around its body in Phuket, southern..

Credit: Newsflare     Duration: 00:34Published
British, American and Australian tourists arrested at 'drug-fuelled party' in Thailand during COVID-19 lockdown [Video]

British, American and Australian tourists arrested at 'drug-fuelled party' in Thailand during COVID-19 lockdown

This is the moment police arrested three British tourists at a drug-fuelled party during the coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday (April 1) The men, named by police as George Oliver Hoskins, 23, Saul..

Credit: Newsflare     Duration: 01:29Published

Tweets about this