Worldwide icon-chevron-right The animals taking back human spaces while the world is in lockdown
Deer in East London
Photograph: Shutterstock

The animals taking back human spaces while the world is in lockdown

While the humans are away the goats, deer, ducks and bears have come out to play

By Ellie Walker-Arnott
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Lockdown hasn’t been all bad. Sure it’s a little scary and a lot claustrophic, but there have been some positives to come out of this current world situation, like Zoom quizzes, Instagram bake-a-longs, communal claps for our healthcare workers and heartwarming stories of communities coming together to support each other. Oh, and all the tales about animals taking advantage of the drop in human activity to have a jolly time. Here are a few of the animals thoroughly enjoying lockdown, from Llandudno’s goats to Yosemite’s bear population.

Pink dolphin
Pink dolphin
Photograph: Shutterstock

Pink dolphins are returning to Hong Kong

News Weird & Wonderful

Thanks to a lull in human movement, along with suspended ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau since March, sightings of Hong Kong’s endangered pink dolphins have risen by 30 percent. 

The local population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins reside in murky waters with little sun, and therefore lack pigmentation. Their bubblegum pink appearance is the result of warm blood pumping through vessels near the surface of the skin.

Scientists estimate that only 2,500 of these rare pink dolphins are left in the wild. But research suggests that the vulnerable marine animals have adapted to the more tranquil environs quicker than expected, and could even be making something of a comeback.

Flamingos in Mumbai
Flamingos in Mumbai
Photograph: Shutterstock

A record number of flamingos are painting Mumbai pink

Flamingos aren't a brand new sight in Mumbai, India – they migrate there annually – but right now there are record numbers of the pink birds around the city. It’s estimated that there has been a 25 per cent increase since last year, due to lower human activity and construction work in the area. Thanks to the current lockdown in the country, they’ve found more peace and quiet to roost. 

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Pelicans are wandering around central London

Strange as it seems, Pelicans aren’t actually an usual sight near Buckingham Palace in central London. The huge birds first arrived in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador and they’ve been living in St James’s Park ever since. They tend to stick to the green space itself, though recently, with the city being unusually quiet, they’ve been a little bolder – Here you can see them strolling along a nearby street called Birdcage Walk. 

Wild goats in Wales
Wild goats in Wales
Photograph: Shutterstock

Goats are running around this Welsh seaside town

News Weird & Wonderful

While communities around the world try to cope with life in lockdown, some people are loving it. And by people, we mean goats. This herd of mountain goats has been tempted into a Welsh seaside town now that it’s so calm and peaceful with its residents in lockdown. Usually the goats hang out in the hills above Llandudno in Wales, UK, but rather than stay home like the rest of us, the animals have taken the opportunity to run riot around the town’s empty streets.  

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Mcdonalds sheep
Mcdonalds sheep
Photograph: Andrew Thomas/Facebook

A hungry flock of sheep have visited an empty McDonald’s

News Weird & Wonderful

Pining for a Big Mac? Ewe better believe it! And so is this lot, by the looks of things. A flock of sheep has descended on a branch of McDonald’s in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, as captured by local Andrew Thomas. McDonald’s shut down branches nationwide on March 23, leaving many fast-food fans bereft. But at least the quiet drive-through has made a peaceful new home for these local residents.

deer
deer
Photograph: Shutterstock

An entire herd of deer has taken over an empty corner of east London

News City Life

A plucky group of deer are making themselves at home on the streets of Romford. Yes, really. In more weird news, the animal takeover has been brought to our attention by none other than singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, who snapped these pictures of a load of deer hanging out in Harold Hill, east London. They might be loving the sunshine but we’re not sure they’re sitting two metres apart – did they miss the social distancing memo? Oh deer (sorry).

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Wild boar are wandering around Barcelona

After just a few days of the city’s population being locked indoors, there were reports of wild boars descending from the mountains and hanging around in the centre of Barcelona, Spain. Local reports suggest they might have been looking for food on the streets of the city – though they definitely didn’t join any supermarket queues. 

Parc
Parc
© DR / Flickr

Ducks and birds are enjoying an empty Paris

News City Life

Streets and parks in Paris had never been so empty of human presence, and wildlife is gradually regaining its rights in an urban environment where humans are disappearing. Wolves are not (yet) at the gates of the capital, but cormorants, ducks, blackbirds, martens, crows and foxes are taking advantage of the quiet capital. 

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Whales are exploring brand new areas

As human activity has slowed over the last few weeks, animal activity has picked up. There have been reports of whales being spotted far from their usual routes and habitats. In Vancouver, whales have been seen swimming close to the city in areas usually busy with industry and boat traffic. Meanwhile, in Scotland, UK, a pod of orcas were recently caught on camera near Thurso. They’re usually found around the much-quieter Shetland islands, but experts think the drop in the number of boats on the water has encouraged them to explore new waters. 

Black bear in Yosemite National Park
Black bear in Yosemite National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

Bears are having a ‘party’ in deserted Yosemite National Park

Okay, so this one isn’t in a city or town, but bear (lol) with us. While humans are no longer allowed to explore California’s Yosemite National Park – the space has closed due to the current crisis – the resident animal population are free to do what they wish. And apparently they’re thriving now that all the people have disappeared. According to one of the park’s rangers the bears are practically having a ‘party’ exploring areas usually full of visitors and even using the deserted roads as paths to get where they want to go. 

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Lions are napping on the road in South Africa

It might have taken us humans a while to get used to life in lockdown, but these lions in South Africa have adapted pretty quickly. Usually, this pride of big cats aren’t spotted anywhere near the tourist haunts, but a ranger recently snapped them snoozing like a bunch of tame tabbies on the traffic-free tarmac near what was until recently a busy camp for visitors on safari. 

Coral reef Hawaii
Coral reef Hawaii
Photograph: Shutterstock

Marine animals in Hawaii are thriving

News City Life

Since the state's residents started staying home and tourism came to a halt, the absence of scuba divers, snorkelers and beach bums is bringing new life to the coral reefs around Oahu. ‘We’re getting a lot of different anecdotal reports of you know, schooling fish and much more present fish in areas like Molokini Crater. Also reports of spinner dolphins in bays in West Hawaii that are just much more prevalent, just seeing different behaviors and activity we haven’t seen in years.’

More animals loving lockdown life?

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