Categories: Conservation

Wildlife returns to London’s urban areas because of coronavirus lockdown

There are benefits to the coronavirus lockdowns which many countries have adopted. We should learn from them and try to recreate these benefits while maintaining a viable economy. At the moment wildlife benefits but humans don’t because of the economic damage caused by an enforced standstill. Ironic that. It’s nature’s way of teaching humans a lesson in respecting nature.

Buzzard. Photo: Alamy

Buzzards have returned to Hampstead Health in the north of London for the first time since they were driven out in the early 1800s. The Times reports that the last Londoners to see buzzards on Hampstead Health would be been the likes of John Constable and John Keats.

The buzzard is England’s largest mainland bird of prey. They can have a wingspan of five feet. The much welcomed buzzards were discovered in a study conducted by the Heath and Hampstead Society, a local conservation group.

It is exceedingly rare to see these sorts of birds in an urban area, and now all of a sudden they’re there, hanging around….It is something we never expected to see when we decided to begin the survey. Our buzzards show us how easily wildlife can return if we just make space for it.

Jeff Waage, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Ther are many other examples of the return of wildlife to places from where they have been ejected due to new human settlements or increased human activity. Deer have been photographed on one of Edinburghs busiest roads, Morningside Road. And a greylag goose has been seen nesting in a flower bed at York Station.

It is a reminder to humans that our continuing, unchecked population growth in most of the world’s countries and particularly developing countries pushes wildlife off the planet. It is a slow drawn out process but it is relentless. It is causing a mass extinction of wildlife species.

The domestic and feral cat are described by scientists as terrible predators of wildlife. A mass killer of animals. The cat is a top predator, I agree. But the human is the world’s best predator by far and kills by a factor of hundreds far more animals than cats. Let’s see a bit more humility from people when they discuss cat predation.


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