The Return of Wildlife

Emily Plachta, Contributing Writer

We all know that the Coronavirus has had devastating effects on the world. Many have lost loved ones, students are missing out on high school and college experiences, and we are being kept away from our friends and family during this time of social distancing. Despite these losses, it is important to look at the positives and the good things that are happening in the world. One of these positives is the remarkable return of wildlife in various regions around the world. Though the world may be struggling economically, this is a clear reminder of how fast nature can bounce back from environmental concerns if humans just take a step back.


One of these remarkable comebacks has been in the city of Venice. The canals have been much cleaner and clearer due to the absence of motorized transport through the waterways. Townspeople have noticed the return of ducks and cormorants, as well as varieties of colorful fish. Many locals are happy to see a return of marine life. “For goodness sake, it is not surprising there are fish in the canals of Venice,” said Matteo Bisol, who runs the vineyard restaurant Venissa on the island of Mazzorbo and has been campaigning for a more eco-responsible, sustainable model of tourism in Venice for some time. “If there were not, then we should all be worried as the lagoon here is a fragile ecosystem. People need to realise that if we control and cut down boat traffic in Venice and its lagoon then we could all discover a unique biosphere.” Though the social distancing order has had a brutal hit on the economy that largely relies on tourism, this event has given the people of Venice a chance to rediscover their city. The clear view straight to the bottom of the lagoons have provided sight of scuttling crabs and multicolor plantlife. Dolphins have even reportedly been seen in the canals! “If you ask me today – sunny blue skies, clear canals – then, yes, we would all like Venice to stay like this for a while. But we need, and look forward to, the return of tourists, though maybe not the 20 million a year that we have had to cope with,” said Gloria Beggiato, who owns the “celebrated Metropole Hotel, a few steps from St Mark’s square,” and has a view over the Venice lagoon.

A beautiful cormorant spotted in the crystal blue waters of a canal in Venice, Italy.

In Santiago, Chile, a wild puma was seen roaming the streets, taking advantage of the quarantine and looking for food. Eventually, she was tranquilized and captured by the Chilean authorities. A week later, a young male was spotted in a residential area before it was tranquilized and released into the wild two days later. Pumas tend to be very shy creatures and fearful of people, so this sighting was quite a surprise for locals. Wildlife experts believe they are taking advantage of the lack of human activity and emboldened by the lack of noise to enter the city from their natural habitat in nearby mountains in search of food. Wild boars have been a familiar sight for people living on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain. Even baby rabbits have dared to cross into the once busy city of Christchurch, New Zealand, and it only took them a few days of lockdown. Today, the humpback whale population has significantly rebounded from only a few hundred in the mid 1900s to over 40,000!

A puma was spotted wandering the streets of Santiago.

Though this terrible pandemic has had a terrible effect on the economic functions of countries, it is important to notice the benefits this quarantine has had on world ecosystems. Though it is seemingly impossible to completely return ecosystems to perfectly healthy and plentiful and also fully restore the economy, we must look at the great rebound of wildlife that has presented itself in the wake of less human activity. It helps us know that through stronger environmental conservation efforts, we can help restore balance to the ecosystem and coexist with the beautiful wildlife that surrounds us.

Ducks wandering the streets of Paris.


Two cows strolling along the usually very busy Corsican beach in France.
Mountain goats spotted in the streets of Llandudno, Whales, after the governor set a quarantine order in place.

(All pictures credit: