Nautilus

Welcome Back, Animals!

The shelter-in-place orders and the massive drop in human activity in our cities, designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, have given us surprising and unexpected sightings of wildlife species across cities around the world. But beyond general awe—and a brief respite from the gloominess of the news—what can seeing all of this wildlife tell us about human-deprived spaces?

Although the media has mainly covered unexpected sightings occurring in urban settings as a result of lockdowns, there are other important, more subtle changes that are happening in the world. First, some species, including those currently living in cities and those making the occasional forays into them, are now able to use habitats and resources that they had never before been able to exploit. Second, species in cities are experiencing a less harassing environment—less active, less noisy. An

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