The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in fewer people stepping out of their homes in the last few months. The reduced human activities have provided plants and animals with the much-needed breathing space to thrive in their natural habitats. Mexico is one such example, where a record number of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles have recently hatched eggs, thanks to the lockdown. By Amitha Ameen

 

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According to a statement made by the indigenous Seri community who is part of a conservation group called Tortugueros del Desemboque in the Mexican state of Sonora, more than 2,250 baby olive ridley sea turtles have been released into the Pacific Ocean. The record numbers show a sharp climb as compared to previous years that have usually seen only about 500 of these creatures being released.

 

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“We are so happy that, in the middle of this tragedy, this miracle of nature happened — as a result of fewer fishing boats and tourists, but also through the efforts of the community,” said Mayra Estrella Astorga, group coordinator (as reported on Arizona Public Media). Capturing sea turtles is already banned in Mexico since 1990 and strict penalties are in place for anyone caught doing so.

 

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In spite of being one of the most abundantly found sea turtles in the world, Olive Ridleys are a designated vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The species has seen a significant decline in numbers, especially in the past few years owing to rapid urbanisation and unsustainable fishing methods adopted by fishermen.

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