How has the Global Lockdown Affected the Wildlife?

With humans safely enclosed inside homes, urban wildlife and vegetation are taking over the streets. Vegetation slowly reclaims large cities, while deer foxes and other small animals roam the streets.

The closest we’ll ever get to this scenario will be in an actual apocalypse. Although New York City isn’t exactly roamed by Zombies like in ‘I am Legend,’ one can feel the same eeriness when walking down the street.

In San Francisco, coyotes—normally scared away by cars— are traipsing 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. Jackals were seen roaming around Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Jackals in Tel Aviv

Although urban wildlife is thriving at this time of lockdown, the animals which depend on the specific environmental condition are likely suffering. Specialist wildlife requires specific foods or environmental conditions, and the specialists are the species that are generally of conservation concern.

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 facing massive unemployment, people in the tourism industry may themselves turn to poach to feed their families.

Matt Brown, Africa regional managing director for the Nature Conservancy said,

Anything with a horn right now, like rhinos, is at risk of being poached. The concern is that we're going to lose the last 10 years of good conservation work—and an increase in animal numbers—quickly because of this.

Mountain goats in Wales

Animals in Captivity are suffering

Animals that are kept in human captivity for entertainment or other commercial purposes are suffering 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 which employ animals such as dolphins, penguins, and seals are mostly suffering from lack of tourist. Without tourists, the parks aren’t able to feed the animal. Many experts are of the opinion that the owners of amusement parks or other forms of human captivity must release the animals to their natural habitat.

Natasha Daly, a writer for National Geographic, says 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 very real 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 in search of food. This can do harm to both them and the local resources.

How COVID-19 Pandemic has prevented the consumption of Exotic Animals?

As we all know, the first case of COVID-19 transmission began in the wet market of Wuhan Province in China. Experts are of the opinion that the zoological virus transmitted from a Pangolin to the animal, while others are of the opinion that the virus first transmitted after eating a bat’s meat.

According to NewsWeek.com,

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.

Another animal that enjoys the recent ban in the pandemic is the pangolin—a mammal that has protective scales on its body made of keratin, which is 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 in the world. Many smugglers traffic pangolins from Asia and African nations to the popular 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 and is protected under national and international laws, animal meat is flourishing in the black market.

However, COVID-19 has forced the Chinese government to put a temporary ban on 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 endangered and the other three are critically endangered.

With the prolonging lockdown, many people are expected to lose jobs. This may include jobs held by experts and caretakers who look after wildlife species inside the conservation area, sanctuaries, animal parks, etc. With dwindling manpower and lack of resources, the upkeep of the animal may see a large problem.

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