covid animals

Wildlife sightings increase in Canadian cities as residents stay home and self-isolate

As people in Canada remain isolated in their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, animals across the country appear to be reclaiming the empty streets and wandering around without a care.

Animal sightings have certainly increased in recent weeks — especially in metropolitan areas — and Canadian residents have taken to social media to post beautiful photos of animals being spotted in unexpected places. 

One Ontario resident reported seeing a native bird species on her balcony for the first time, which she called "a nice break from house sparrows and European starlings in this urban concrete jungle."

And in Red Deer, Alberta, deer have been spotted freely wandering the empty streets — making the city's name seem more appropriate than ever. 

A video of of a large group of elk travelling through Alberta has also been shared widely, and many have pointed out how beautiful it is to see so many wild animals walking together. 

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, two moose were spotted hanging out in a residential area. 

And in Revelstoke, B.C., a bear was spotted taking a dip in someone's backyard hot tub.

But while Canadian residents and people all over the world are reporting more wild animal sightings than usual, one expert says there may not actually be more wildlife roaming around — people may just be noticing it more.

Gordon Robertson, chair of the education and publicity committee for the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, told CBC it's unclear whether there are actually more animals roaming around or if people just have more time to stop and notice their surroundings.

"I'm not entirely certain that there are more of them. In some cases there might be, but I think just more people are out right now," Robertson told CBC Radio's All In A Day this week. "They're not at work so maybe they're taking walks around and they're just seeing them more."

But regardless of whether or not more animals really are venturing out into cities and urban jungles amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the photos and videos shared widely online show just how well animals thrive in a world that's not quite so dominated by human beings. 

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