Wildlife observed more over lockdown period

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Wildlife was more visible because people were more observant.

During the Level 4 lockdown, the Department of Conservation (Doc) received “a number of inquiries” about an increase of wildlife in urban areas.

Doc principal adviser Herb Christophers was not surprised.

“People were being more observant,” he said.

“People noticed birdlife due to having more time and opportunity to observe them during the lockdown.”

Less human-generated noise, such as traffic, meant people were more aware of their natural surroundings.

It also encouraged wildlife to be more “bold”, as it was likely that seals and penguins, for example, took advantage of empty beaches as people stayed home.

However, determining if wildlife were “thriving” in urban environments during the lockdown was not possible because people were unable to monitor species and pests, he said.

Mr Christophers said some animals are more common at this time of year, such as ducks and fantails.

“As far as pests are concerned, at this time of the year, rats naturally seek out a warm place to shelter.

“Rodents come indoors where possible and the frequency of rat encounters goes up.”

University of Otago research Associate Prof Janet Stephenson said a reduction in traffic and noise in city centres gave wildlife an incredible reprieve.

“We’ve seen a huge burgeoning over that period of birds in cities,” she said.