Environment Editor
 Deer in Harold Hill in Essex
 Deer in Harold Hill in Essex Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley 

三级成人视频As humans around the world have retreated inside, our animal neighbours have ventured further out of hiding. 

三级成人视频From cougars on the streets of Santiago, to deer in Nara, Japan and ducks crossing the road in Paris, animals that normally live in the shadows of our towns and cities have suddenly emerged into the light, looking for food or merely emboldened to roam. 

The situation provides a giant experiment in animal behaviour. But for zoologists and conservationists it poses a conundrum.

三级成人视频How do you investigate the impact of a lockdown, when you are in lockdown?

“I’m fascinated to know what’s going on in terms of how this sudden massive reduction in activity is seen by the animal population, from the roadways to the reduction in noise pollution,” says Graeme Shannon, a zoology lecturer at Bangor University, Wales, down the coast from the town of Llandudno, which was recently invaded by its now infamous mountain goats.

“But if you were to plan an experiment like this, there would normally be months of design.”

Mountain goats have invaded Llandudno since the UK lockdown was introduced  Credit:  Carl Recine/Reuters

“We can certainly say there’s an impact on the ability of scientists to collect and analyse the data, because they’re not able to get to the field,” said Matt Larsen, the director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

“It means a lot of these observations are strictly anecdotal.”

三级成人视频He recently saw racoons frolicking on the surf near his home in broad daylight - a first on a beach that is normally full of human visitors. 

三级成人视频In lieu of getting out in the field, scientists across the world are relying on existing camera traps and infrastructure to monitor the changes. 

Remote monitoring capability has developed at a swift pace in recent years, with lightweight GPS collars enabling real-time tracking and camera tracking sensitive enough to pick up even the smallest mouse. 

But most of the technology still requires the same maintenance as your TV remote. 

“We’re quite excited to see if these cameras can keep running. But our challenge is that we can’t go out to change the batteries,” says Mr Shannon, of a project to monitor deer in North Wales. “We’d normally change them around the 60-70 day period. They’re currently on 80-90.”

CCTV and road traffic cameras could provide another valuable source of data, especially within cities, but are limited by storage capacity which means footage is often erased after just a few days. 

三级成人视频Science does have one new helper - ordinary people stuck at home, staring out of their windows. 

Stray dogs take rest on the main road in old Srinagar, Kashmir on March 31 Credit:  Anadolu Agency

三级成人视频“People can start keeping simple lists of what they see from their windows and that can form a depository of what animals we have in the city. I've seen people taking videos of dolphins that have just started to appear off the coast of Mumbai,” says Anish Andheria, the president of India’s Wildlife Conservation Trust.

三级成人视频“During the lockdown, even people that are not normally keen on birds, for instance, are suddenly taking notice."

三级成人视频Relying on citizen science has its shortcomings.

Most of the sightings are in areas that are already home to plenty of animals - merely unbeknownst to their human inhabitants, who are normally at work or otherwise distracted.

三级成人视频“In India every other day we have reports of tigers and lions entering villages, even during normal time. Suddenly now we’re seeing these videos, but a lot of them are not even dated, so this data is questionable,” says Mr Andheria. 

And images and videos are not always that reliable. Several of the images that have gone viral - of swans and dolphins returning to Venice, or drunk elephants roaming through a Chinese village - have turned out to be false. 

三级成人视频Then there is the question of the scientific value of such a period of unnatural upheaval. 

“I think it’s more of a curiosity, I don’t think it’s going to yield great new scientific understanding,” says Mr Larsen.  “As soon as people start re-appearing in cities and towns the animals are going to retreat and this will have just been an unusual vacation for them,” says Mr Larsen. 

A puma walks along a street in Santiago, Chile, on March 24 Credit: Andres pina/Reuters

三级成人视频For animals that exist on the waste of urban life, this time will be more of a struggle than a holiday and could have some fatal consequences. 

三级成人视频“We have a lot of feral dogs here in Mumbai, so what is going to happen when we see them interacting with the wild animals that are going to come out more looking for food?” Mr Andheria says.

“One impact could be increased disease transfer from animal to animal as they are forced into greater interaction with each other.” 

三级成人视频What might be overturned in this period are our assumptions about what can be considered “natural” behaviour for our urbanite wildlife, and what is imposed by the encroachment of humans. 

“I think the key thing we’ll see is the times of day animals might be using areas. Many urban species are suddenly using the daytime as they would the night,” Mr Shannon says.

“If you really want to get dark about it, this is kind of a macabre vision of what would happen if humans disappeared,” says Mr Larsen.

And though many of these animals are likely to slink back into the shadows when humans re-emerge, there could be a painful period of readjustment.

三级成人视频One possibility is an uptick in traffic accidents, as roads unexpectedly fill up with traffic again. 

“On the more positive side hopefully some people by having this experience will maybe have a deeper appreciation for the values of our natural systems,” says Mr Larsen.