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🗞 Going wild, thanks to COVID

Have you seen this big bird? We just did, here at the WoW! office.

It’s a heron. You might normally spot one by a lake, catching fish. But we saw one perched on a house here in Brussels, happily surveying the city centre.

Have you seen unusual wildlife lately?

Billions of us are staying at home to stop the corona virus. Suddenly our cities and roads have gone quiet. Just the way Mother Nature likes it.

We wrote last month about how the air and water around our towns has become so much cleaner.

And WoW!’s nosy heron is just one of millions of creatures plucking up the courage to explore places where us noisy humans usually frighten them off.

Have you seen the mountain goats strolling about a town in Wales and nibbling on the flowerbeds? Or the deer taking over a town in Japan and dolphins exploring a harbour in Italy?

Check this video from The Telegraph, showing a herd of goats that has taken over a deserted town centre, eating hedges and flowers from gardens.

There are also reports of wild boars roaming Barcelona, foxes on the streets of Paris and a puma prowling around Santiago, the capital of Chile.

“Wildlife is taking back natural habitats at a surprising speed,” said Didier Réault. He looks after a coastal nature reserve in France where puffins, those shy, chubby seabirds, have started to swim close the big port of Marseille.

Even if you haven’t been out much, you might have noticed something. Have you?

Do you hear the birds singing?

We should all be able to hear more birdsong because there is much less other noise.

But it’s also because some birds stop singing when people scare them. “Right now, they’ve stopped stopping,” Jerome Sueur of France’s Natural History Museum told the news service AFP.

Lots of people think that the corona virus shutdown, which is causing all sorts of problems for people in many ways, is having some good effects.

The clean air, the quiet and the wildlife exploring our human towns reminds us that we share Planet Earth. Being shut now in may remind us in future how much we like the outdoors.

Do you think people will try harder to keep our environment clean and quiet in the future?

“Mother Nature … is getting a little bit of relief,” said the singer Mylie Cyrus, who often talks about the environment. “And we’re starting to see what it would look like if we actually started treating the world more responsibly.”

The animals will find us coming back out soon to disturb them. But they will still be better off. Grass and other plants are growing unbothered by us right now. That will mean lots more seeds and insects for birds and other creatures to eat later on.

Spring is also the season for babies and chicks. A bit of peace and quiet means there could be more of them this year. So look forward to a noisy, natural summer!

Listen to Alastair & Clarisse discuss wildlife during the shutdown on YouTube

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