Of ducks waddling near the Comédie-Française in the center of Paris; groups of dolphins, northern gannets or gray herons observed with frequency and density “Unprecedented” by agents of the Calanques National Park ; of coyotes on the streets of San Francisco in the United States … The images, often true but sometimes false – there was no dolphins in the canals of Venice, in Italy, nor drunk elephants in a village in Yunnan, China – animals seen in unexpected places, usually frequented by humans, have circulated widely since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. While these scenes were able to provide some comfort in seeing nature “benefit” from this period, the effects of confinement on biodiversity remain to be measured and should, in all likelihood, be only marginal.
As France continues its confinement, fauna resumes its place in the capital. The ducks do not remain pl … https://t.co/CPSTIgG4CL
“There are ducks all year round in Paris, wild boars in the forests right next to Barcelona, describes Benoît Fontaine, conservation biologist at the Center for Ecology and Conservation Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History. Animals are simply more visible in spaces freed by humans, but all of this is quite anecdotal compared to the degradations suffered by nature for decades. ”
“This plasticity of nature, this ability of certain fish or birds to quickly frequent spaces when they are neglected, is a phenomenon that we know, adds Jean-David Abel, vice-president of France Nature Environnement. But nature does not take its place. We just look better: we notice species that were next to us but that we couldn't see. “
Pesticide use continues
Experts believe that confinement should last for months to induce changes in the cycle or behavior of certain species and have a structural impact on the state of the fauna. In town, Benoît Fontaine believes, however, that insects are the most likely to benefit from this parenthesis. “As the parks and green spaces are going to be less maintained, there may be a little more flowers and therefore insects, he says. Insects have a short life cycle so changes can be faster. For birds, however, their reproduction in this spring depends on the populations that are already present, so we should be in continuity. “