With cities globally setting lockdowns and quarantines because of the coronavirus outbreak and recommending people to distance themselves from each other, social media has been filled with posts about animals wandering the empty streets.
Unfortunately, many of these positive animal stories were actually fake- there were no drunken elephants in Yunnan, China and no dolphins were swimming in the canals of Venice.
But, as the pandemic is changing our rhythm of life, there are some early signs that animals are eager to explore.
Deer, Raccoons & Turkeys Spotted on the Urban City Streets
In Nara, Japan, a sika deer was caught wandering through the streets and subway stations whereas raccoons were seen on the beach in an empty San Felipe in Panama.
Believe it or not, turkeys were spotted in Oakland, California.
According to Seth Magle who’s director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, normally, animals live in parts of the city that people don’t use, so this is why they’re an uncommon sight, similarly to ghosts.
Even though wild turkeys aren’t an uncommon in some parts of the Bay Area, they now got a bit more space to wander in the areas where they don’t normally go.
In Europe, boars were seen by residents romping through the quiet, deserted city streets of Barcelona.
In San Felipe where bars and restaurants are locked down and tourists are practically non-existent, people have seen some unusual visitors on the beach.
Raccoons were frolicking on the edge of the surf, claims Matt Larsen who’s the director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and lives there.
He says that he’s been living near this beach for six years and has never seen something like this.
In normal conditions, this beach that’s next to the presidential palace is cleared out by security and there are people around it and the streets are full of tourists and citizens of Panama.
In Lopburi in Thailand, the absence of humans and tasty snacks of tourists have led to the local monkeys ‘brawling’ over a cup of yogurt.
Can We Expect to Spot Other Amazing Wildlife on Our Emptied Streets?
The lockdowns and quarantines may continue impacting wildlife in different ways, explains Paige Warren who’s an ecologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Warren notes that she’s interested in seeing if other creatures like foxes and coyotes become bolder in the cities of America.
In Nara Park, the sika deer that looks like Bambi has become used to tourists lining up to feed them with crackers.
Now, as the park is empty of humans, the deer have started going into the city looking for food- they were seen on subway stations and on city streets snacking on plants.