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Meet the animals that are loving the lockdown

Although we’ve been seeing the chaos of a pandemic across the world, some animal species have flourished in the absence of humans. Staying in our homes means animals are enjoying a wider choice of habitats.

Most of us wish we weren’t, but the truth is that we humans are generally threatening to the majority of wildlife. From poaching and hunting to destroying natural habitats, our presence usually means that animals keep themselves as hidden as they can. But this year, with people being advised to stay at home, reduce travel and cancel holidays, more and more animals are coming out of the woodwork.   

Here in the UK, a herd of goats has taken over the town of Llandudno in Wales, walking on walls and entering gardens to munch on the plants. The mischievous bunch cottoned on to the quiet atmosphere pretty quickly, first spotted back in March when the British lockdown was initiated. Although these goats may look like they’re causing trouble, they’ve in fact indirectly raised more than £50,000 for a local hospice. The team at St David’s hospice has created and sold 3,000 T-shirts and 500 tote bags featuring images of the goats. The proceeds have pulled the hospice out of a financial crisis, meaning they’re able to stay open and continue to care for people.  Although the merchandise was made before lockdown, the goats decided to trot into town at the perfect time – just as the fundraiser was being launched, which really boosted the town’s profile.

With the drop in traffic on the roads and in the air, we’re hearing much more silence, which gives songbirds the chance to communicate clearly and freely. Head outside and you’re sure to notice more beautiful birdsong than you usually would.

The wild boars are feeling boisterous in Haifa, Israel, making their way into the quiet hallways of residential buildings and having a good snoop around. There have always been occasional sightings in the area, but the boars are certainly feeling more confident to come into the city centre and see what they can glean from the human-free areas.

And in Albania, observers are saying they’ve seen a 30% increase in flamingos. A lagoon near the Adriatic Sea is usually a popular beauty spot for people to visit, but the change in pace this year has been a boon for the flamingo community. A very fragile and shy species, they’re feeling a little braver with fewer humans around, finally confident to stop at the lagoon to nest and breed.  

The world is sure to return to normal soon, and though we’ll all want to get back outside and enjoy the scenery, let’s spare a thought for the animals we share the planet with. By giving them their space and safety, we’ll be able to enjoy seeing them for many years to come.

Guest blog by Alex Hawker

Image credit: https://www.theguardian.com/news/gallery/2020/apr/17/wild-boars-and-a-safe-landing-fridays-best-photos  

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