With over 2 million cases of coronavirus around the world and numerous countries on lockdown, viral photos of wild animals occupying human spaces have been circling social media.
Kruger National Park in South Africa tweeted pictures of a lion pride lying in the middle of a road. The park, that usually is swamped with tourists, has been closed to visitors for about a month. Park spokesman, Isaac Phaahla stated that besides wandering in areas that are usually occupied with people, there hasn’t been many other changes in animal behavior.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.
📸Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
While it can be exciting to see wildlife filling up spaces people have left, unfortunately most of the viral pictures and stories you hear are either fake or exaggerated. Seth Magle, the director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, has stated that it is perfectly normal to see animals in cities, especially deer, racoons, and even wild turkeys in the Bay Area or boars in European cities. The reason why we are seeing them more often is because of the lack of human traffic on the streets, giving wildlife more room wo wander.