New Delhi: The air is cleaner, the roads quiet, birdsong can be heard again and animals, from leopards and elephants to deer and even a civet cat, have been spotted in multiple places across urban India.
As the virus pandemic forces humans into their homes and birds and animals reclaim areas that were once theirs, it is tempting to believe nature is healing itself —particularly after the unprecedented lockdown.
But it may not all be good news, said experts as the “sightings” in urban centres continued to grow with the most recent being a leopard spotted wandering through the streets of Chandigarh this week.
A nilgai was seen crossing the road near the TGIP mall in Noida, a sambar deer spotted taking a stroll in Hardwar, Gurgaon residents captured peacocks in Galleria market and there were reports of a civet cat in Kozhikode in Kerala and a tusker walking through Wayanad.
Drawing a parallel with the ongoing migrant labour exodus from cities to villages, environmentalist Vandana Shiva said “refugees from the forest” are coming to the cities because “we invaded their homes”.
"We robbed other species of their homes and food. Wildlife, whose home is the forest, entering urban areas is not a positive sign. Now the displaced animals, the refugees from the forest, are finding the courage to enter cities when the streets have been emptied of cars and people,” Shiva told PTI.
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