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Photograph: Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / Facebook

Cities in Southeast Asia where wildlife is returning

Animals are making more frequent appearances in Southeast Asia, especially at beaches and national parks that are usually swarmed with tourists

Dewi Nurjuwita
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Dewi Nurjuwita
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You've seen photos all over social media of wildlife returning to locked-down cities worldwide. Dolphins are appearing in Italy's waterways, deer are wandering through streets in Nara, and in London, red foxes are found in quiet parks. In Southeast Asia, things are no different – especially at beaches and national parks that are usually swarmed with tourists. From rare leatherback turtles to adorable furry creatures in Singapore, wildlife is making more frequent appearances in Southeast Asia. 

RECOMMENDED: 5 ways to travel sustainably once it's safe to vacation again 

Turtles in Phang Nga
Photograph: Shutterstock

Turtles in Phang Nga

With the fall of tourists in Thailand, some beaches on the Andaman Sea coastlines have seen the largest number of leatherback turtle nests in two decades, according to Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation. The iconic Phang Nga Bay, a tourist hotspot, is now attracting tourists nesting on its beaches – especially now with the lack of tourists and even nest thieves. 

Otters in Singapore
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

Otters in Singapore

As Singapore's streets are emptier amidst the 'circuit breaker', these furry creatures have been spotted frolicking around empty urban spaces in search of food. A family of seven otters affectionately known as the 'Zouks', for instance, have been photographed near Mustafa Centre, outside Tan Tock Seng Hospital and in a swimming pool of a condo in Newton. 

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Langur monkeys in Thailand's national parks
Photograph: Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / Facebook

Langur monkeys in Thailand's national parks

In March, the internet saw videos and photos of a bunch of starving monkeys take over the streets of Prachuab Khiri Khan. Now, it's a family of langur monkeys and their newborns have been spotted at national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, since national parks all over the country have been closed since the end of March.

Flying foxes in Singapore
Photograph: WRS

Flying foxes in Singapore

Here's another one in Singapore while we're all staying home. A rare sighting took place on World Environment Day: a colony of large flying foxes (also known as the Malayan Flying Fox) was seen soaring over the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. While native to Singapore and the region, the large flying fox has been classified under the "Near Threatened" conservation status according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The last sighting of this species of flying foxes in Singapore was in 2016. 

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Dugongs near Ju Hoi cape
Photograph: Shutterstock

Dugongs near Ju Hoi cape

Away from land, a herd of 31 dugongs have been sighted off the coast of a Thai island. The dugongs were spotted during an inspection at the Ju Hoi cape in the southern province of Trang, marking one of the biggest clusters of dugongs ever spotted in Thailand. Wildlife is truly returning. 

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