While most of the world is practicing social distancing and self-quarantine during COVID-19, there has been an increased number of wild animal sightings as they wander out of national parks and are exploring more populated areas.
According to officials, in California there have been increased coyote sightings, including reports of the animals carelessly walking the once busy streets of San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles. Park Rangers for Yosemite National Park have reported a high resurgence of bobcats, coyotes and black bears.
In other parts of the world, wildlife sightings in unusual urban areas include goats and sheep roaming the street of Wales, hungry pumas from the Andes Mountains wandering down to the empty streets of Chile, groups of monkeys congregating on the roadside in New Delhi and lions laying in the middle of the road in South Africa. The list goes on.
Some experts blame food scarcity for the irregular behavior of the animals, as well as the lack of opposition or fear of human contact.
Others believe that curiosity and the prolonged silence from mass quarantines are causing the erratic behavior demonstrated by these wild animals.
Although no incidents of attacks have been reported, some officials fear that the animals may start to acclimate to these types of areas and will increase the chance of future attacks or contact once things begin to open up.
Furthermore, while there have only been very few reports of animals testing positive for COVID-19, which include some domesticated cats and animals at The Bronx Zoo, many experts wonder whether or not these wild animals are immune to the virus. Additionally, there is the unanswered question of if the virus can be passed from animals to humans and no evidence has been provided to show it is possible.
However, while the idea of wild animals contracting the virus and spreading it to the human population is disregarded by many, there is still speculation of the damage it could cause and how to contain the problem if it arose.
For now, the animals continue to roam free, any consequence unbeknownst to them.