The fall in human activity due to the confinement against the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought with it ‘another de-escalation’ of animal species, some of which are at risk of extinction, are seen for the first time in years in different parts of the planet, Spain between they.
Basking sharks in Catalonia
Seeing basking sharks through the waters of Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) is an uncommon event, although not as much as seeing brown bears in Orense (Galicia, Spain).
At the end of April, however, several basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) were swimming a short distance from each other in the waters of Tarragona and the scene was captured on video from a fishing vessel, the Antonio Creu Segundo.
Cetorhinus maximus is the second largest fish in the world after the whale shark and can reach up to ten meters in length although it feeds on plankton.
The normal thing, in addition, is to see it alone.
A brown bear in Orense
Around the same time, a specimen of brown bear was filmed at various points in the Montes do Invernadeiro natural park in Ourense, Galicia, by the producer Zeitun Films.
The images of this mammal were captured by several photo-trapping cameras that the producer has installed for two years to record scenes of wildlife.
The brown bear specimen, with its scientific name Ursus arctos, is a 3 or 5-year-old male and is “the first filmed in the area and probably also the first to pass through this region in the last 150 years,” according to the producer.
Reef sharks off the coast of Thailand
But not only in Spain. Also on the coasts of Thailand several tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen rare sea turtles or reef sharks in recent weeks.
In early April, Thailand, which last year attracted nearly 40 million tourists, closed its borders to the arrival of foreign visitors.
“With the pandemic, human activities have decreased (…) Which translates into fewer factors that disturb the lives of animals. Now, they can go out looking for food more easily, ”Teeranai Phetsom, a marine biologist who operates in several natural parks on the west coast, told EFE.
Dolphins and turtles
According to this scientist, in the area there would be at least 130 dugongs – an aquatic mammal threatened with extinction similar to manatees also known as mermaids – and around a hundred turtles, in addition to a large number of dolphins that until recently avoided the transit areas of passenger ships.
So, in the medium term, what is negative for Thai economic activity is positively valued for the recovery of activity of some animal species, according to some experts.
So much so that marine guards recorded in the days of COVID-19 about twenty black tip shark pups, a species decimated on the Thai coasts, prowling on a popular beach in the Similan Natural Park, one of the tourist jewels of that country.
But, it also has to do with the protection of natural resources and restrictions on fishing, according to Noel Caballero from Agencia EFE, Jakpan Muangyim, one of the department’s regional managers.
Since November, according to Jakpan, 11 leatherback sea turtle nests and one sea green turtle nest, two species listed as threatened, have been found on the country’s west coast.
The masks and the sea
Measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also create problems for marine life, expert biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a professor at Kasetsart University, recently warned.
Sorry, this expert assured EFE that the resurgence of marine life during the pandemic “is something temporary”, since when tourists return they will return to the depths again. (May 13, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)
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