Nature flourishes during COVID-19 lockdown

From bioluminescence to wildlife roaming empty streets, the COVID-19 lockdown is allowing nature to take over Mexico

Nature flourishes throughout Mexico during the coronavirus lockdown
When people stay home, Earth becomes cleaner and wilder - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 30/05/2020 14:53 Marisa Zannie Mexico City Actualizada 19:19

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As people across the globe stay home to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, the air has cleaned up, albeit temporarily.  For instance, smog stopped choking New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, and India's getting views of sights not visible in decades. For its part, nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30%. Rome's air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down 49% from a year ago. Stars seem more visible at night.

People are also noticing animals in places and at times they do not usually. Coyotes have meandered along downtown Chicago's Michigan Avenue and near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. A puma roamed the streets of Santiago, Chile. Goats took over a town in Wales. In India, already daring wildlife has become bolder with hungry monkeys entering homes and opening refrigerators to look for food.

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When people stay home, Earth becomes cleaner and wilder, and Mexico is no exception, for nature has not taken long to claim what it once owned in different parts of the country, which is the second country with the largest number of reptiles, the third in mammals, the fifth in amphibians, and the eighth in birds.

With such large biodiversity, it is no wonder that animal species all over Mexico have begun to wander as lockdown continues.

Holbox, Quintana Roo
This amazing island is known for being a small paradise with no cars bigger than golf carts. However, since last year, locals began urging everyone to take care of their heritage and local volunteers and international organizations began cleaning the mangroves and beaches to take better care of the environment.

Holbox is basically in the Yum Balàm Natural Protected Area and people have recently reported that they have seen giant manta rays near Punta Cotos, as well as dolphins around the island. People are waiting for hawksbill turtles to arrive on the island, which is one of the most important natural phenomenons every year. On the other hand, Holbox has always been a bird sanctuary, but today, flamingos, herons, and many other bird species are more present than ever.

Cancún and the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
The lack of tourism in hotels at Cancún and the Riviera Maya has allowed endemic animals to get closer than usual to the hotel areas. Several people have been able to see and record jaguars, crocodiles, pheasants, and even the rare sighting of a leatherback turtle laying eggs in front of a luxury hotel in Cancún.

Moreover, there are several videos in social media of crocodiles calmly wandering in different tourist areas in Cancún, even at the La Isla shopping mall, although according to locals, watching them is not as unusual as watching the other species.

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Monterrey, Nuevo León
Some videos in social networks have shown the presence of black bears wandering in some streets in Monterrey. Although according to some locals the presence of this kind of bear is not that unusual, their calm while roaming the empty streets stands out. Other animals that have been seen on the outskirts of the city are coyotes and boars.

Acapulco, Guerrero
Even Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most crowded and polluted beaches, has had unusual visitors. Recently, the beach known as Riviera Diamante was visited by a whale. Due to the lack of fishers and tourists that interfere with nature, the giant sea mammal decided to wander near the coast.

Another unusual event recently witnessed in Acapulco is that its beaches are now clean and the sea is a wonderful blue color that had not been seen for a long time.

Moreover, on April 20, there was a bioluminescence phenomenon at Puerto Marqués beach that had never taken place in Guerrero, although it is common in other places in Mexico

Veracruz
Due to the absence of people on the beach, the sea in Veracruz is now a turquoise color, similar to the sea in the Caribbean.

Recently, several users in social media shared pictures and videos of the beaches in Veracruz-Boca del Río that amazed locals for they showed the water was clearer and had an astounding color.

The COVID-19 health emergency has reduced all tourism activities in the area, allowing these colors to emerge.

Moreover, dozens of birds are now flying on the beaches, something that could not happen with the presence of tourists.

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Huatulco, Oaxaca
Fishermen in Huatulco spotted huge pods of dolphins happily swimming in the sea.

Although it is common to see dolphins along the coast of Oaxaca, it is unusual to spot them in such big numbers. It is likely that the reduced commercial and tourist activities have allowed these sea mammals to take over their habitat.

The videos show dolphins everywhere the fishermen look at, swimming at full speed and breaching toward the sunset.

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