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How Lockdown Brought Us Back to Nature

Anna Tabrah, Staff Writer

As travel plans were put on hold, the world appeared to be breathing a sigh of relief. Air pollution levels plummeted in China, the canals were clear in Venice and animals began reclaiming the streets in big cities.

With countries implementing lockdown measures due to COVID-19, humans have been staying close to home and pollution from driving and aviation has dropped dramatically. While the life-changing repercussions of the pandemic should not be downplayed, the positive impact on nature has been a welcome surprise.

The Himalayas became visible from 100 miles away

While residents of the Indian state of Punjab stayed indoors, many were treated to incredible views of the Himalayas from their homes. Taking to social media to share images, one local wrote: “For the first time in almost 30 years [I] could see the Himalayas due to India’s lockdown clearing air pollution.” India saw a huge improvement in air quality, with Delhi’s PM10 pollution levels (particles found in dust and smoke) reduced by 44% on the first day of lockdown.

Fish and birds returned to Venice canals

As the population of Venice adhered to strict self-isolation measures, the city’s wildlife came into its own. Amazed locals shared images of the canals’ crystal-clear waters, exposing shoals of fish, seaweed and crabs. Ducks nested at the water’s edge and cormorants returned to fish in canals. This incredible change was due to the lack of boat traffic, which usually churns up the muddy canal floor, disturbing wildlife and affecting the water’s clarity.

Puma took a stroll through Santiago

Chile’s capital, Santiago, would ordinarily be teeming with tourists and city workers. However, the unusually quiet streets attracted a very special guest: a curious puma. Believed to have come down from the surrounding hills, the animal was captured and taken to Santiago zoo for tests, where it was confirmed it is “in good health”.

Deer grazed in the streets of London

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Usually known as timid animals, deer braved the streets of East London’s Harold Hill. Groups as large as 15 were spotted lazing around and grazing on grassy patches as the UK’s capital enjoyed a mild start to spring. One local even snapped a picture of a small child feeding a carrot to one of its new antlered friends.

Coyotes took over Downtown San Francisco

They’re hardly unusual in the US but coyotes tend to keep to themselves in cities, roaming the streets only at night. As the footfall slowed however, the elusive animals were spotted in broad daylight in Downtown San Francisco and even on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ducks waddled through Paris

Traffic levels dropped as Paris urged people to stay home. The strangely quiet streets must have seemed appealing to ducks, who were spotted waddling through the city without a care in the world.

Mountain goats strolled through Welsh town

The Welsh seaside town of Llandudno seemed strangely empty without its usual tourist crowds. But as the streets remained quiet, a confident herd of mountain goats decided to venture out of the rocky Great Orme and past the closed shops and cafés.

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