Quiet Time: Wildlife and Covid-19

Written by: Andie
Edited by: Leela
Visual by: Yana

Although the last few months have been marked with seemingly endless tragedies and uncertainty, it is important to acknowledge the good that has occurred alongside the widespread devastation brought about by Covid-19. One area that has seen a positive impact as a result of global lockdowns is wildlife. This is tangible all over the world, from Istanbul to the local waters of the Philippines.

Areas once filled with tourists have been repopulated by local wildlife. The Bosphorus in Istanbul, one of the world’s most busy marine routes, operating twenty four hours a day, has begun to see dolphins swimming and jumping in the city’s waters. This is hypothesized to be a result of the lull in traffic and the absence of fishermen. In Albania, pink flamingos – whose current population is 3000 – increased by a third, flocking towards lagoons on the country’s west coast. This solitude birds are experiencing comes as a result of the closing of nearby olive oil and leather processing factories, which are notorious for polluting the waters (BBC).

Population booms have been observed, and experts are marveling at the novel circumstances brought about by lockdowns. In Albania’s Divjaka National Park, 85 pairs of curly pelicans began nesting, relishing in the quiet brought on by the absence of the park’s usual 50,000 monthly visitors (BBC). Most recently, a wildlife park in Kenya has seen a record 140 elephant calves born in 2020 with two sets of twins born – a rare occurrence according to Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a nonprofit conservation group (NPR).

The Philippines has also experienced its very own wildlife comeback amidst Covid-19. The waters of Donsol, Sorsogon have seen 19 new whale shark sightings, as monitored by WWF-Philippines. Jun E. Narvadez, the WWF-Philippines Donsol Project Manager stated that, “it’s important that we continue our whale shark monitoring efforts despite the lockdown. It’s our obligation as WWF-Philippines to continue monitoring activities, and to let the world know of the whale sharks of Donsol and their importance to their ecosystem.” The organization also reported 50 returning whale sharks, accounting for a total of 69 whale sharks spotted since the start of the year (Philippine Tatler).

Although Covid-19 continues to bring about waves of uncertainty and unease, it is important to continue to look for the good, or perhaps even the neutral instances in our lives. May we look to our wildlife, and similarly relish in the moments of quiet and stillness, in order to find some peace during this trying time.

Works Cited
Co, Ryanne. “Good News: 19 New Whale Sharks Have Been Spotted Off The Coast Of Donsol, Sorsogon.” Tatler Philippines, 2 Sept. 2020, ph.asiatatler.com/society/good-news-19-new-whale-sharks-have-been-spotted-off-the-coast-of-donsol-sorsogon.
“Coronavirus: Wild Animals Enjoy Freedom of a Quieter World.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Apr. 2020, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-52459487.
Saldivia, Gabriela. “Some Good News: An ‘Elephant Baby Boom’ In One Kenyan National Park.” NPR, NPR, 14 Aug. 2020, http://www.npr.org/2020/08/14/902177466/some-good-news-an-elephant-baby-boom-in-one-kenyan-national-park.