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Wildlife during a pandemic: The other side of the coin

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Instances of wild animals entering urban landscapes were reported the world over. But was everything about the lockdown hunky-dory for them?

On waking up to the birds chirping and fresh air, fewer people and cars on the streets during the countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we were led to believe that it healed the environment.

It took a long time to realise that we became used to the monotone of humdrum mornings. For most working-class people, each day was the same when we woke up, went about our morning routines and rushed for work.

Mornings were met with crowded streets and bustling marketplaces. We saw hordes of people trying to keep up with their daily schedules, taking little notice of their surroundings.

But today was different. As the sun emerged from the mountains, the sky was covered in a blanket of tangerine hues. The darkness swept off to the west and the birds looked like silhouettes against the orange-kissed heavens.

Trees lined across streets came alive with chirping birds and squeaking squirrels. The streets themselves were untainted by human footfall.

This silence was broken as the empty streets of Hyderabad drew an unusual visitor: A leopard walked out of his den, made his way to a road, looked at the concrete jungle around him and went for an adventure, leaving residents with surprise, fear and in awe of his beauty.

Such instances were reported the world over: Wild animals took back what was once theirs, as people were forced to stay home.

While Sambar deer wandered on the roads in Chandigarh, a small Indian civet was spotted on a zebra-crossing in Kerala.

A herd of spotted deer explored the streets of Haridwar without the fear of being killed by moving vehicles.

There was an increase in the number of flamingoes congregating in Mumbai, according to news reports.

It seemed wild animals took pride in allowing city folks to glorify their appearances.

The now pristine beaches across the country’s coastline became hatching grounds for tiny Olive Ridley turtles, while critically endangered Ganges dolphins made a return to the ghats of Kolkata.


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