The pandemic has shown that nature can rebound at speed when given the chance.
Tales of dolphins and swans returning to the canals of Venice and elephants sauntering through a village in Yunnan, China turned out to be fake news as people clamoured for positive stories amid the terrifying Covid-19 media blizzard in March. But the return of animals to places where humans have retreated is really happening. Pumas have descended the Andes mountains into Santiago, Chile, wild boar have moved into central Barcelona, penguins have been seen waddling in the streets of Cape Town, and more turtles are laying their eggs on Thailand’s deserted beaches.
But coronavirus has also left wildlife vulnerable in some areas. Nine rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the start of the lockdown, and conservationists worry that their funding will be affected by a drop in tourism.