28 June, 2020
2 Min Read
Recently, researchers have coined the term ‘anthropause’ to refer to the Covid-19 induced lockdown period and they will study its impact on other species.
Etymology: The shortened form of prefix ‘anthropo-’ (for ‘human’) and ‘pause’. It is a more precise term for the lockdown period which is also being referred to as the ‘Great Pause’. It refers specifically to a considerable global slowing of modern human activities and notably travel.
Impact: As a result of the lockdown, nature appears to have changed especially in urban environments. The unprecedented curbs led to reports of unusual animal behaviour and unexpected animals are being spotted more frequently. For example, reported sightings of pumas in downtown Santiago, Chile, of dolphins in untypically calm waters in the harbour of Trieste, Italy, and of jackals in broad daylight in urban parks in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Hidden from human view, animals may also start roaming more freely across the world’s oceans, following reductions in vessel traffic and noise-pollution levels.
On the other hand, lockdown may have been more difficult and challenging for various urban-dwelling animals such as rats, gulls and monkeys who depend on food provided or discarded by humans.
Significance of the Study:
Studying this period will provide valuable insights into the relationship between human-wildlife interactions in the 21st century.
Expanding human populations continue to transform their environments at unprecedented rates. The linkages of human and animal behaviour can help provide invaluable information, useful in preserving global biodiversity, maintaining the integrity of ecosystems and predicting global zoonoses and environmental changes. Further, the reduction in human activity during the lockdown on both land and sea has been unparalleled in recent history and the effects have been ‘drastic, sudden and widespread’, making this period more important.
The pandemic affords an opportunity to build a global picture of animal responses by pooling large numbers of datasets. Such collaborative projects can integrate the spatial and temporal approaches outlined above, in an attempt to uncover causal relationships.
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