World Nature Conservation Day: Are people a threat to the environment? Perhaps. At least during the lockdowns brought on by the COVID 19 epidemic, we came to realise that. When the world entered the Anthropause, nature took centre stage.
The noises and sights of wild animals replaced human traffic on the roads. Pictures of wild creatures like boars, deer, and Nilgai strolling past a porch were widely shared on social media. Some of the animals were also seen wandering on the roadways.
Anthropause, the brief period of human activity, had a significant impact on wildlife and ecology. While some reported seeing the dugong, commonly known as the sea cow, in the Hat Chao Mai National Park, others observed wild goats in their gardens consuming the flowers and plants there.
These shy creatures emerged in the open metropolitan spaces when there were no human activities on the highways. Animals like foxes or boars took advantage of the possibility to occupy open spaces in cities due to the mild weather in colder regions because there was plenty of sunshine.
Fish population expanded significantly as factories were closed and fishing activities were suspended. Dolphins and other mammals have been seen on the water’s surface and along the shorelines. Olive ridley turtles were discovered to be mass nesting in daylight at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery and Gahirmatha Beach after almost seven years. These animals chose the coastlines to nest since there were fewer people in these public spaces. It almost appeared as though mother nature had a chance to regenerate.
The sparse tourist activity also demonstrated how some animals’ health was having an impact on humans. Animals like lizards and iguanas, who are frequently seen at tourist destinations like beaches, were frequently mistreated and fed foods like breads and other products that were not healthy for their diet. During the pandemic, this activity was curtailed. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that poaching increased during the pandemic. Many people turned to poaching as a means of subsistence as a result of the decline in tourism.
This pandemic demonstrated to us the need of allowing animals to live in their natural habitats rather than attempting to capture them and keep them in captivity in order to protect them. Researchers and scientists used this pandemic as an opportunity to determine which areas required conservation. According to a study by a conservation organisation, since trees are important in keeping the virus contained, further spreading it to people could result from deforestation. Numerous similar discoveries raised awareness of the value of flora and fauna. This rebirth may have only been a passing fad, but now that human life is returning to normal, it is important to reflect on the pandemic’s impact and move toward saving environment so that people can live in harmony with it.
The pandemic showed us that conserving nature only requires making the proper decisions so that all life can coexist in peace.