COVID lockdown offers insight into human-wildlife interactions

Monday, August 31, 2020 - 13:20 in Biology & Nature

As COVID-19 lockdowns forced billions indoors, wildlife came out to play in many parts of the world. Sightings have been reported of coyotes roaming through San Francisco, dolphins frolicking along Istanbul’s shores, and wild goats wandering the streets of a North Wales town. And researchers have been watching. One group of experts recently coined the term “anthropause” to describe the global slowdown of human activity during the pandemic and noted the conditions could produce critical insights into human-wildlife interactions. “Coordinated global wildlife research during the anthropause will make contributions that go well beyond informing conservation science — it will challenge humanity to reconsider our future on Earth,” wrote the team of researchers led by Christian Rutz, 2019–2020 Grass Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, in a recent article published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The paper amounts to a call to study humankind’s impact on wildlife using data collected during...

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