Burro’d time: this viral world’s gone wild, and scientists are ...

World

Burro’d time: this viral world’s gone wild, and scientists are loving it

As deer, donkeys and pumas stalk the burbs, scientists have leapt on one of the biggest experiments in history

Emma Gatten

As humans around the world retreat indoors, so animals have begun to come out of hiding. From cougars on the streets of Santiago to deer in Nara, Japan, and ducks crossing the road in central Paris, animals that normally live in the shadows in our towns and cities have emerged into the daylight, possibly looking for food or merely emboldened to roam.

The situation provides a unique opportunity to observe animal behaviour, but for zoologists and conservationists it poses a conundrum: how do you investigate the impact of a lockdown when you are in lockdown?

“I’m fascinated to know what’s going on in terms of how this sudden massive reduction in activity is seen by the animal population, from the roads to the reduction in noise pollution,” says Graeme Shannon, a zoology lecturer at Bangor University, Wales, 32km from Llandudno, which was recently invaded by mountain goats...

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