A white-tailed fawn rests in a clump of grass. (Design Pics)

COVID-19 not leading to increased wildlife, you just have more time on your hands: biologist

People have had more time to actually notice the critters that usually turn up in the spring

No, unfortunately, it seems nature is not healing.

While hunkered down inside, many Canadians believe they’ve observed more wildlife while peering out their windows.

However, Dan Kraus, a senior conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, said it’s more likely people have just had more time to notice the backyard critters who usually turn up this time of year.

“Because of how COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down and stay home, many people are more tuned in to what nature is around us — we might be noticing the birds and other creatures that live around us more because we are less distracted compared to our usual routines,” said Kraus, adding that the change of season is also a likely contributor.

“Animals of all sorts are moving about more looking for a mate or building a nest or den. So this slow down of human society is happening right when the rest of nature is waking up and getting active. There’s a lot happening for any of us to notice if we only pay attention.”

There’s a myriad of reasons, according to Kraus, these sightings are more prevalent as of late, including animals taking advantage of empty spaces left vacant by sequestered humans.

“The quieter environment certainly means that we also hear more birds, and animals that avoided people by mostly coming out at night maybe extending the hours that they are active,” said Kraus.

Sightings of larger animals are not all that uncommon in the spring months, said Kraus. Often, wildlife will make way into the big city as habitat is more available than in years past due to the increase in popularity of city parks and greenspace.

Kraus is hopeful these observations will increase people’s appreciation of the nature around them and the critters that call it home.

“The majority of Canadians live in a place that historically had very high biodiversity,” said Kraus. “Some of the diversity is coming back thanks to conservation efforts and because wildlife is adapting.”

READ MORE: Grizzly bear pals emerge from 19th hibernation at Grouse Mountain

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium, at risk of permanently closing, raises $600K in donations


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