Coronavirus drives wild animals into cities

Deer roaming towns, starving monkeys fighting... Wild animals are also facing the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Wildlife makes an appearance

Rumors, fake news, and misinformation about the coronavirus are spreading xenophobia towards China and Asian countries in general. While tourism in general has grinded to a halt due to the stay-at-home orders and advisories internationally, there is one group that has not been given a second thought. Wildlife has been impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, specifically animals living in zoos or widely-visited tourist attractions.

In Nara, in Japan these sika deer are a major tourist attraction. Ordinarily, thousands of tourists line up to feed and take photos with them. But since the health crisis linked to coronavirus and the restriction on movement imposed by the Japanese government, the park has been emptied. The deer have started to venture into nearby towns in search of food. A similar situation is unfolding in the city of Lopburi in Thailand. In Asia, feeding wildlife is a very popular tourist attraction that allows tourists to get up close with the animals. Several NGOs and scientists condemn the harmful impact that these practices can have on both the wildlife and the tourists. While the Thai authorities are anticipating a decrease in visitor numbers this year, of at least 6 million tourists, monkeys from the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple, accustomed to being fed by the tourists, found themselves alone. Confrontations broke out among the packs of monkeys in search of food in the city.

How to prevent the virus

Since the coronavirus taskforce predicts that a coronavirus vaccine will not be perfected for another year or year and a half, it is best to start protecting oneself. Health professionals are asking citizens to stay inside and to avoid contact as much as possible with those outside of your housing or immediate circle. The mass stockpiling of medical masks are preventing workers from having the proper supplies. Other known prevention methods include rigorously and frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable, disinfecting any and all surfaces, and preparing medicine and food supplies in case of infection.