By Divya Sundar
From Goats to Peacocks
How many of you have been hooked on that new video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons? With everyone cooped up indoors because of quarantine, it’s no surprise that this fun, relaxing game is being played by everyone and their neighbor. However, did you know that, because of the quarantine, animals are also roaming the streets in real life?
A herd of goats freely roam Trinity Square in Wales with everyone staying indoors due to COVID-19
Because we are staying in our homes in an effort to control the spread of the virus, we have given wild animals the chance to take over our cities. Businesses and tourist attractions have gone quiet and the roads are no longer packed with people and honking cars. From London to San Francisco, animals have been able to freely explore their surroundings, uninhibited by the presence of humans. A herd of goats wanders through Trinity Square in Wales, UK while peacocks strut the quiet streets of Ronda, Spain. Although this may seem to be one upside to the global lock down, many animals may actually be harmed by the absence of humans.
The Search for Food
Animals that once relied on tourists for food are now going hungry and searching the streets for anything they can find. As per one report, close to one thousand Thailand macaques, previously fed by generous visitors, are now fighting in the streets for any bits of food they can find. This is primarily due to the number of visitors from China dropping by almost 85%, We can also see this same pattern globally, with the tourist rates expected to drop by 25%. Meanwhile, in Nara Park in Japan, the hundreds of sika deer that once relied on the rice cakes tourists fed them are now searching cities for food, wandering in large herds of 10 to 15 deer. Thus, these animals are more susceptible to being hit by passing cars as well as eating pieces of plastic they mistake for food.
Thus, while humans are staying in their homes playing Animal Crossing, animals are actually crossing our streets in search of food. The lack of cars and people has not only led to a reduction in pollution levels but also a growth in animals’ ecosystems as they are expanding and overlapping with our own. Although, at first glance, the quarantine may seem to benefit these animals, we have seen many ways in which it has harmed them instead, rendering this situation much more complicated than we initially anticipated. Whether this is negatively or positively affecting wild creatures, one thing remains clear: for this short period of time, wild animals have once more been able to freely roam the earth.
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