20 dolphins spotted near Koh Tao

20 dolphins spotted near Koh Tao

Sighting latest evidence of healthier environment after lengthy absence of tourists

One of the 20 dolphins spotted near Koh Tao breaches the water surface on Saturday. (Photo by Ao Chayachon via Supapong Chaolan)
One of the 20 dolphins spotted near Koh Tao breaches the water surface on Saturday. (Photo by Ao Chayachon via Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: Almost 20 dolphins were spotted in the sea near Koh Tao on Saturday, to the delight and excitement of Thai tourists visiting the island in the Gulf of Thailand.

The school of dolphins was seen jumping out of the water while tourists were travelling in a boat to Koh Tao, which is starting to see more visitors since the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.

The animals were sighted between Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Last week, another group of tourists also saw three or four dolphins there.

The months-long absence of tourists at popular sites in Thailand has led to a marked improvement in the condition of the natural environment. In some cases, animals not seen in years have been returning.

On Koh Samui, the largest and most popular tourist island in Surat Thani, sea turtles were recently spotted laying eggs on a beach for the first time in decades.

On Koh Tao, a group of diving instructors and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources have been doing their part to improve the environment, planting 40,000 coral branches off Ao Luek in the southeastern part of the island.

The United Nations Environment Programme listed Koh Tao among islands with a strong community committed to coral reef conservation on World Oceans Day 2020 last Monday.

Coral reefs are important for preserving sea water quality, to the benefit of marine animals including dolphins. They also protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms, and provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms.

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