With humans safely enclosed inside homes, urban wildlife and vegetation take over the streets.
Vegetation is slowly reclaiming large cities while deer, foxes, and other small animals are roaming the streets without fear.
The closest we will ever get to this scenario will be in an actual apocalypse. Although New York City isn’t precisely roamed by Zombies like in ‘I am Legend,’ one can feel the same eeriness when walking down the street.
In San Francisco, coyotes are strolling across the desolate Golden Gate Bridge. In the Welsh town of Llandudno, mountain goats are moving in.
In Barcelona, wild boar have infiltrated the city center, and jackals were seen roaming around Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Although urban wildlife is thriving at this time of lockdown, the animals which depend on the specific environmental condition are likely suffering.
Lockdown has affected the Wildlife
With lockdown in effect, it has adversely affected the ecotourism industry-funded conservation efforts.
In Namibia, tourism accounts for 16 percent of employment. In Tanzania, protected lands cover over a quarter of the country’s total area. But in the last few weeks, these tourism industries have declined.
The slump in tourism is likely to stay in place until September at least, according to the Nature Conservancy.
Without tourists, they are less likely to pay salaries for the security guards who protect animals from poachers.
Many experts fear that the people in the tourism industry facing massive unemployment may themselves turn into poaching to feed their families.
Matt Brown, Africa regional managing director for the Nature Conservancy, fears that,
Anything with a horn right now, like rhinos, is at risk of being poached. The concern is that we will quickly lose the last ten years of good conservation work and an increase in animal numbers.
Animals in Captivity are Suffering
Animals kept in human captivity for entertainment or other commercial purposes suffer from the lockdown. Although keeping animals in human captivity is outright wrong, many animals who already are living in captivity are suffering from a lack of human attention.
Amusement parks that employ animals such as dolphins, penguins, and seals predominantly suffer from a lack of tourists.
Without tourists, the parks aren’t able to feed the animal. Many experts believe that the owners of amusement parks or other forms of human captivity must release the animals to their natural habitat.
To quote Natasha Daly, a writer for National Geographic,
The decline in tourism is a global issue that will continue to affect the animal industry in uneven ways. And smaller facilities will face a heavier burden than larger, more established ones.
She fears that it’s a genuine concern that many of these animals that are languishing in some of these substandard facilities around the world may not be getting the care or food or veterinary attention that they would if the facilities had the sort of money coming in that they’re used to.
Some desperate animals have been recorded wandering into city centers searching for food, which harms the city and puts their lives at risk.
How has COVID-19 Pandemic Prevented the Consumption of Exotic Animals?
Here is good news –the consumption of exotic animals has sharply dropped following the COVID pandemic.
As we all know, the first case of COVID-19 transmission began in the wet market of Wuhan Province in China.
Experts believe that the zoological virus is transmitted from a Pangolin to the animal, while others think that the virus is initially transmitted after eating a bat’s meat.
According to Business Insider,
In Shenzhen, China, a law was passed banning the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat, which will come into effect on May 1. Known as the "Shenzhen Special Economic Region Regulation on a Comprehensive Ban on the Consumption of Wild Animals," the legislation was passed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also bans the consumption, breeding, and sale of wildlife for human consumption in the city—including snakes, lizards, and other wild animals.
Pangolin animal has enjoyed the recent ban following the pandemic as it is one of the most consumed exotic animals in many parts of China.
This mammal has protective scales on its body made of keratin, the same material as human nails.
Pangolin is a mammal wholly-covered in scales. The animal found in the wild or sanctuaries depends on the diet of ants, termites, and larvae.
Unfortunately, the pangolin is one of the most trafficked animals globally—many smugglers traffic pangolins from Asia and African nations to the famous black market of China and Vietnam.
Their meat is considered a delicacy and is used in traditional medicine.
Although the animal is regarded as an endangered species protected under national and international laws, animal meat is flourishing on the black market.
However, COVID-19 has forced the Chinese government to temporarily ban trading and eating many wild animals, including pangolins.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that two of the African species of the pangolin are considered vulnerable, and two are endangered.
It also shows that of the Asian species, one is threatened, and the other three are critically endangered.
With the prolonging lockdown, many people are expected to lose jobs, including positions held by experts and caretakers.
With a critical workforce gone, animals living inside the conservation area, sanctuaries, animal parks, etc., may also suffer, where the animal's upkeep may be a significant problem.
However, it may open a new window of opportunity in conserving wildlife and finding a balance in the human-animal relationship.
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