How mammals changed their habits after covid-19

The periods in which we were closed at home with mammals that could move freely have passed, now the animals have adapted and changed their behavior towards us

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, the animal world has reacted in astonishing ways, with mammals showing significant adaptations in their habits. This was highlighted in an international study published in the scientific journal Nature.

The research, conducted by more than 220 researchers, including contributions from five Italian institutions (Science Museum and Edmund Mach Foundation for Research in Trentino, University of Florence, University of Siena, and the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), examined the habits of 163 mammal species across different parts of the globe, unveiling an interesting and complex picture.

Mammals’ varied reactions based on environment

The study found that mammals behaved differently depending on their environment. In more intact natural environments, animals reduced their activity and avoided contact with humans. This behavior could be interpreted as a self-preservation strategy, as natural areas often serve as refuges for more sensitive species.

On the other hand, in areas heavily influenced by humans, such as urban and suburban areas, mammals became more active but also more nocturnal. This change could be attributed to the animals’ desire to minimize contact with humans, shifting their activities to nighttime when human presence is generally reduced.

Large carnivores most sensitive to changes

An interesting finding from the research is that large carnivores were the most sensitive to changes in human activity. This could be due to their reliance on large territories for hunting and finding food, territories that often overlap with those used by humans.

Overall, the pandemic has pushed many mammals, especially those subject to hunting, towards more nocturnal habits. This adaptation might reflect a response to increased human presence during the day, with animals seeking to avoid potential conflicts and dangers.

The significance of such studies

The importance of such studies cannot be underestimated, as they provide valuable insight into post-pandemic ecological dynamics and can help inform wildlife conservation and management policies.

Moreover, they remind us of the deep interconnectedness of animal life with human activities and how even small changes in our behavior can have a significant impact on the surrounding ecosystems.

Source: Nature Ecology & Evolution

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