The temporary and beautiful invasion of wildlife Aneesh Kotwal
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The number of positive stories emerging out of the coronavirus pandemic is a testament to the spirit of the people in lockdown. It is amazing to see how people are willing to sacrifice time know to save lives and preserve a better future tomorrow. While many countries are still in turmoil, others are starting to slowly emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. It may take some time before normality returns and that normality may look different to what it once was. One thing is for certain though, the streets that are currently quiet will become busy again and the pollution that filled the skies will return. Let’s hope that we at least learn to appreciate the environment a little more during this time and take some of that appreciation and understanding with us into the future.

One of the most amazing things to happen during the pandemic is seeing how animals have occupied many vacated sites. It is estimated that one-third of the world’s human population was under quarantine at the peak of the pandemic. That is over 2 billion people who usually would be outside and interacting, all under lockdown. 

In nature when any vacuum is created it is filled. The coronavirus pandemic is no different. As former busy streets lay empty, wildlife came to occupy it. This has happened on occasion before, for example, after the Chernobyl disaster, wild horses entered the area. The coronavirus pandemic may mark the first time in modern history that it is happening worldwide. 

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In India, the population of over 1 billion people has been asked to stay indoors. The large bustling cities like Mumbai and New Delhi have populations of over 15 million people. Here smog once filled the air and people filled the streets, but now they are eerily quiet. While it would be a suitable opening to a zombie horror movie, instead something beautiful is happening. Pink flamingos have started to flock to the city in record numbers. At this time of year, flamingos are known to migrate to Mumbai and surrounding areas however they have never arrived in numbers like they are now. Pictures are continuously emerging of a sea of pink in the city with an estimated 135,000 flamingos now occupying the space.

In other countries, the vacuum of space is being filled by nature. In Thailand, monkeys are running riot through some cities. The macaques of Lopburi are used to taking handouts from tourists but with the tourists gone the little creatures are confused. They have started to ransack the streets in efforts to find food and videos have emerged of massive brawls taking place between different macaque factions as they become desperate for food. 

In Wales, things are a lot less manic but goats have invaded some small towns as the locals are staying inside. In Yosemite National Park bears are being spotted in the areas that tourists usually go. In Italy, dolphins have been found playing in the port of Cagliari. In Canada, orcas have been seen deep in Vancouver’s inlet. In Japan, deer have left their normal abode in Nara and have started to venture into towns.

It appears that nature is pushing back a little and reclaiming some land that is lost over time. Sadly when the coronavirus ends they will all be forced back outside of the metropolitan areas as normal service resumes. However, if some can remain, if some can be protected, and if we could live in harmony with them, it would be an amazing and beautiful thing. While there have been numerous moments of beauty during this coronavirus it would be incredible if some of these beautiful moments could last.

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