Nature Emerges as People Shelter-in-Place During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Caitlin Dempsey


As more and more people shelter-in-place during the coronavirus outbreak, streets are empty and levels of pollutants are dropping. This has resulted in some pleasant surprises which are being documented on social media and in the news. One common theme is that deserted streets have resulted in wild animals being seen more often in urban areas.

A Herd of Deer in Grand Rapids, Michigan

This driver captured a herd of deer running around residential streets in Cedar Rapids, Michigan.

Coyote in Chicago

Seeing coyotes in urban areas in not unheard of. Major cities like New York and Los Angeles regularly report sightings of coyotes. For some specialists, the sightings of coyotes reported since many states when into a shelter-in-place order might just be a result of more people being at home. Stan McTaggart, Wildlife Diversity Program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources notes,  “It’s also likely that since more people are staying home from work, they are observing wildlife and noticing things that may be happening (every day or week) while they are normally at work. Changes in our behavior may alter the daily movements of some wildlife, but the wildlife have been nearby all along.” Even so, seeing a coyote in the normally busy urban core of Chicago during the day isn’t a sight normally seen as this Twitter user capture:

Wild Goats in a Welsh Town

These goats normally stay up in the hills near Llandudno, a small Welsh town. The Great Orme wild goats are defended from Kashmiri goats that were brought over from northern India per the town’s website. The empty streets coupled with lots of access to hedges and plants have proved too tempting for these goats as witnessed by this Twitter thread:

Unobstructed Views of Dhauladhar Mountain Range

With satellite sensors recording lower levels of certain air pollutants during the coronavirus pandemic, residents of Jalandhar and other locations are able to see the distant mountain range of Dhauladhar for the first time in decades.

Blue Skies in Los Angeles

Clear skies are normally a treat after a good rainfall in Los Angeles, a city where the skyline is often a dingy orange-brown color. With less people driving as residences shelter in place, blue skies are becoming more frequent.

Venice Canals are Clearing

The lack of much boat traffic has mean that the canals of Venice, Italy are clearing up. The water has become so clear in places that fish can be seen swimming.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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