The Coronavirus pandemic has been responsible for a lot of anxiety, depression, and pain. Millions of people have been laid off from their jobs or lost them altogether. Small business owners, unable to get the promised stimulus loans, or even if they were able to borrow, have had to close their doors for good. High school seniors will skip their graduations, and athletes miss out on sports scholarships. However, with all of the negativity, there are some positive – and perhaps even surprising – outcomes to the worldwide lockdown.
While humans are shutting themselves indoors and working on that 5,000-piece double-sided puzzle, the animal kingdom is taking advantage of the extra roaming space. Cities and tourist areas that are usually bustling with activity have been shut down, giving animals an opportunity they just can’t pass up to explore and conquer.
In South Africa, the lion pride usually does not venture into the Kruger National Park where tourists are aplenty – but seeks to live in Kempiana Contractual Park where visitors are not allowed. However, with the shutdown, Kruger has been closed to tourists. The pride was seen being lazy, lying on the tar road that would usually be traveled by humans. “Lying on the road during daytime is unusual because, under normal circumstances, there would be traffic, and that pushes them into the bush,” a park spokesperson said.
Yosemite National Park in California has its fair share of black bears: between 300 and 500. The park has been closed to visitors since March 20 and during April can get about 308,000 tourists traipsing through its protected lands. Without humans clogging up nature, the black bears widened their roaming and were spotted climbing a tree next to the ranger housing.
Kangaroos are part of the Australian culture, much like Pandas are in China, although usually they’re not spotted hopping around town. That’s what happened in Adelaide, a coastal city in southern Australia with a population of more than 1.2 million. Since humans were locked away inside their homes, at least one kangaroo decided to investigate the usually bustling city. The South Australian police had a little fun with the incident, tweeting out: “Protective Security Officers tracked a suspect wearing a grey fur coat hopping through the heart of the #adelaide CBD this morning. He was last seen on foot heading into the West Parklands.”
In Thailand, turtles took advantage of the absence of humans and were able to increase the number of their nests, reaching a 20-year high. Phuket is the country’s most popular island and, therefore, a place that attracts a lot of tourists. It was also one of the hotspots for the Coronavirus to which the country responded with lockdown measures. Without humans jamming up the streets and beaches, the turtles had the chance to regenerate their population.
A herd of Kashmir goats took advantage of humans on lockdown and roamed the seaside town of Llandudno, Wales. The beasts were seen nibbling on neighborhood shrubs and gardens and just basically making themselves at home. Usually, the goats only venture into the human area if the weather is “awful” said town councilor Carol Marubbi. “I think they’re probably feeling a bit lonely, and they have come down to have a look around,” she said.
Mother Nature Takes Advantage of the Pandemic
The animals aren’t the only ones to use reduced human activity for their own benefit; Mother Nature has used the opportunity to clean up some of the planet’s polluted areas. With a ban on traveling, there are fewer planes in the skies, trains on tracks, and vehicles on the roads to add to the environment’s pollution. This has cleaned the air, allowing for bluer skies than some have seen in a long time.
It’s also had some interesting results on bodies of water, such as in Venice. The Italian tourist destination has been devoid of activity since March when it was shut down amid the pandemic, and since then, there’s been a noticeable change to the canals. After just a couple of months of reduced boat traffic, exhaust from vehicles, and virtually no human activity, the waters have cleared up, and even small fish can be seen swimming around. Satellite images show that nitrogen dioxide emissions had reduced over Northern Italy.
In China, where residents were wearing masks long before the COVID-19 outbreak due to severe pollution, emissions fell at least 25% a couple of months ago. Days with “good quality air” had improved by 11.4% in 337 cities across the country compared to the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Although the human race has been sacrificing its freedom, losing jobs, and being separated from loved ones, there are at least a couple of positive aspects for which we can be thankful. How long these helpful events continue now that countries across the globe are starting to reopen is anyone’s guess.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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