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Endangered Sea Turtle Hatchlings Now Have Brazilian Beach All To Themselves

Although our world has changed drastically over the last month, it's basically been business as usual for the animal kingdom.

Since most of them don't have to worry about coronavirus, the only real difference they might observe is that they can go further into urban areas without any humans shooing them away.

But while our absence may not be terribly noticeable in many wilderness environments, there's a good chance we can make an exception for the various sea creatures that make use of the world's beaches.

As much as some intrepid few may still want to visit these places, people in some areas like northeastern Brazil will find that they're simply not allowed to at the moment. And that order has made for an oddly serene scene involving some incredibly adorable little fellas.

Paulista, which is found in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, is home to some attractive beaches for sea turtles.

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As The Guardian reported, this includes the hawksbill sea turtle we see here, but also the the green sea turtle, the olive ridley turtle, and the loggerhead.

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Although the hawksbill turtles stand out among this pack, that has sadly led to their endangerment.

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Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now identifies, loss of coral reef habitats as the biggest threat to the species' survival, the reason why they're endangered in the first place has to do with the attractiveness of their shells.

For hundreds of years, they've been hunted so their shells can be made into combs, hair clips, jewelry, and other trinkets before the practice was banned internationally. It still happens illegally, of course.

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This practice has inspired their Portuguese name, tartarugas-de-pente, which translates to "comb turtles."

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But while they remain critically endangered, they can still be seen hatching every year between April and May from the nesting areas their parents made back in January.

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After they hatch, the baby turtles make their way across the beach and it's a reportedly beautiful sight.

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However, as Paulista's environmental secretary Roberto Couto told The Guardian, "This time, because of coronavirus, we couldn’t even tell people it was happening."

More specifically, this referred to a partial shutdown of the state's beaches ordered by Pernambuco's governor, Paulo Câmara.

As he said, "Only isolation will stop the curve growing at the speed it is growing in other places."

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This meant that when the little hawkbills hatched a bit early on Sunday, only a few local government employees could see them make their march to the water.

Paulista City Hall

They're little now, but if they can avoid becoming bycatch or getting entangled in the hazards of the sea, they'll eventually became over three-and-a-half feet long and weigh up to 187 pounds.

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In total, 97 of the baby turtles hatched and made their way into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Paulista City Hall

And for the first time in ages, they essentially had the beach all to themselves while they did it.

That said, we wouldn't have seen it at all if the government staff on hand hadn't taken photos like this one. So at least there's some way we can see the cuteness in action.

h/t: The Guardian

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