As humans retreat from oceans due to Coronavirus, dolphins, rays and sharks are seen more near shores

People in quarantine during lockdown make marine animals throng to city side and beaches, also raising ecological concerns

With people in quarantine, animals seem to have lost their insecurity to throng the city side. Wild boars were seen in Barcelona, while pumas in Santiago of Chile, civets and deer in India.

In recent weeks the Emirati coastlines witnessed exotic rays in Dubai Marina, while dolphins playing near the Palm Jumeirah islands, and a big gathering of sharks were seen off Ras al Khaimah. A rare albino Risso's dolphin (white in colour) was spotted in a pod of dolphins off Fujairah coast, in a video.

In a welcoming gesture to the rays, sharks and dolphins to the Natalie Banks, founder president of Dubai's marine conservation group Azraq said that human absence provided breathing space for aquatic animals, reported The Sentinel and CNN.

Sightings of these aquatic species showed a potential indicating their boldness

Malabar large-spotted civet
Malabar large-spotted civet spotted in an empty street in the south Indian state Kerala amid Coronavirus lockdown. Twitter

Sightings of bigger groups of these aquatic species rather than just individual animals, showed a potential indicating their boldness. Azraq said that it was the largest pods seen in those waters ever.

Conservationists want an increased coverage of marine protected areas, she said, while further limiting boats and jet skis. Azraq now relies on public sightings reporting marine wildlife since lockdown prevents direct staff observations. This group's also clean the beach whilst they also plant mangrove trees and visit schools. All the activities have been hit.

'Unusual' are these sightings of marine life. It is now a global phenomenon as humans retreat during quarantine, said Minna Epps who is the director of the Global Marine and Polar Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Ecosystem Imbalance

Epps further says these sightings might be short-lived while adding that as tourism activities gain a rapport, it will reverse these environmental and marine benefits that might have occurred. However, lasting gains could be achieved by managing fishing.

She also warned that the absence of humans also might bring less positive effects. She reasons that as one species claim new territory, could potentially wipe out some other species in the area creating an ecosystem imbalance.

Epps hopes that the devastating effects caused by COVID-19 pandemic, which might have even transmitted by animal captured from the wild, may give the message "protecting nature is protecting ourselves" she puts it as "healthy environment, healthy people."

Related topics : Coronavirus