We have been feeling the effects of our current health crisis as it has been spreading across the United States, and the world as a whole over the past couple of months. We are doing our best to flatten the curve by staying home and practicing social distancing. There is some good news in all of this...wildlife, and the environment as a whole, are bouncing back! Here are some noticeable changes so far:
1. The Earth is shaking less!
Fewer automobiles, trucks, and trains has caused a noticeable drop in vibrations measured in the Earth's crust. This is according to a report published in the Journal of Nature earlier last month. Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory in Belgium, noticed "the city had reduced levels of noise similar to what it sees on Christmas Day."
2. Water is clearing up
Venice canals are clearing up due to less traffic on the water, which has allowed rocks and sediments to rest on the bottom, therefore causing the water to look clear. With less traffic in waterways, wildlife and seaweed, often hidden by murky waters, have been more noticeable across the canals. Clearer waters have been seen, too, in other areas of the world.
3. Animals taking over towns
Herds of mountain goats were seen taking over the streets in a northern Wales town. Sika Deer were seen wondering around in the cities of Japan looking for food, who are often fed by tourists. Lions and tigers have been photographed on roads where vehicles often stop to take pictures on their safari tours. With those closed, safari animals have been roaming around closer to the roads. Last month, a ranger at Kruger National Park in South Africa noticed a sleeping pride of lions right on the road! Also, a record-breaking number of flamingos has flocked to the city of Mumbai during their annual migration, according to Science Times. This normally occurs each year, but the number this year has significantly increased due to less human action.
4. Decrease in air pollution
There has been less driving in Los Angeles, which has contributed to lower levels of air pollution. Los Angeles has some of the highest smog levels in the United States, according to the New York Times. On March 21, you could actually see the Los Angeles skyline! NASA satellite reports mention that air quality as a whole was cleaner when China and Italy were in lockdown. This is also being noticed across the United States as well. There has been a 30% drop in air pollution over the northeast United States. Lastly, The Himalayas can also be seen in India, thanks to a drop in air pollution there. It has been "decades," according to Global News.
5. Sea turtles are nesting better
This one is heartwarming! With most beaches closed, sea turtles (who are endangered) have been thriving, thanks to less people! "All of the reduced human presence on the beach also means that there will be less garbage and other plastics entering the marine environment," mentions David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. "Ingestion and entanglement in plastic and marine debris also are leading causes of injury to sea turtles. We expect that thousands of hatchlings are more likely to survive and reach the sea," Godfrey added.