Stories of wildlife revelling in the absence of humans out and about have added some
light to the heavy days of the Covid 19 pandemic. While people are staying inside their homes, venturing out only on essential errands and for a bit of exercise, wild animals everywhere have seized the day. They have ventured into empty streets that would normally be filled with people and noise and danger. Luckily for the rest of us, those streets have not always been completely devoid of humans, and we’ve been treated to amazing photos and videos. The wild creatures of Ireland have been doing their part to keep us entertained. Here are a few of our favourite stories.
The Fox at the Ha’Penny Bridge
Irish police officers patrolling Dublin the night of April 5th encountered an exceptional site – a lone fox on the deserted Ha’Penny Bridge in the heart of the city center. An Gardai Siochana shared the stunning image, and Irish media and social media users gave it plenty of online love. Denizens of the capitol city, however, do know that foxes live among them. It isn’t unheard of for people returning home from a late night out to see one trotting along the sidewalk or darting into the shrubbery. But it is very rare to see the Ha’penny Bridge empty! And the image is absolutely breath-taking.
Sharks’ Day at the Beach
Beaches have been a very controversial topic during the lockdown with some people deciding to take their chances gathering there on sunny days while others express their concern about the spread of Covid 19. But no one was dipping a toe into the water off the coast of Clare after a large group of basking sharks were spotted only about 100 meters offshore in early May. This is their natural habitat, but these sharks are critically endangered so seeing a large number of them is exciting.
Mama Buzzard Says Buzz Off
Buzzards don’t have a great image, and despite laws protecting them, a few people have poisoned some in Ireland. But one mama buzzard has had enough of humans and our antics. Birdwatch Ireland has issued a statement saying they’ve received multiple reports of a nesting buzzard in south Dublin attacking people and urging the public to leave her alone and give her some space. It’s hard to blame the bird. Many of us have felt an urge to lash out at people who aren’t following social distancing guidelines.
Wild boar once thrived in the woods of Ireland. They’ve been extinct here for about 800 years, so the news of a litter of boar piglets being born in a sanctuary in Donegal is joyful indeed. An adult boar is a fearsome sight, but these little boarlets are downright adorable. Their arrival is a milestone in the efforts to revive Irish wildlife and forests after they were decimated centuries ago. While the boarlets’ arrival has nothing to do with the lockdown, it does lift many hearts to know that a native species is returning.
Nature can be a huge source of comfort during uncertain times. Our ancient ancestors celebrated the seasonal movements of the sun and believed trees had spirits. It isn’t a surprise that we still draw on nature to renew our faith, hope and love in times like these.