Scientists say virus will spawn a golden year for Thai wildlife

Marine biologists and park officials are predicting a “golden year” for wildlife in Thailand as the decrease in human activity because of the coronavirus pandemic is allowing animal populations and environments to recover and thrive.

“Mother Nature has given us this precious opportunity to revive the sea. If we don’t seize it, we don’t know when we’ll get another chance,” said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist at Kasetsart University in Bangkok.
“Generally, almost all the corals are looking good with no signs of bleaching.”

He attributed the revival of the coral reefs to the absence of tourists. Thailand’s coastlines are enormously popular with divers and snorkelers from around the world because of the stunning coral and diverse species of fish and sea mammals.
Environmentalists have been warning for several years, however, that the number of tourists is too high to sustain the Kingdom’s natural treasures.

In Krabi on the southern coast of the Andaman Sea, Jampen Pompakdee, chief of the Koh Hong marine park, said increasingly rare marine animals had been sighted around the islands in recent weeks as the waters have been left undisturbed by people.

Other officials said they recently spotted dozens of Blacktip reef sharks swimming close to the beach around Koh Hong. It was the second time they have seen the sharks in two weeks.

Meanwhile, officials at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said rangers have been seeing more wildlife than in recent years, especially in Khao Yai National Park. The government closed the parks to prevent the spread of the virus.

The rangers reported sighting honey bears, deer, hornbills, and elephants far more frequently than usual.

Photo courtesy of