Animals Are Glad We’re Not Bothering Them

Black bear in Yosemite National Park.
He’s partying. Photo: Jeannette Katzir/Getty Images/iStockphoto

These days, parties feel increasingly like a tradition of a bygone era. Remember congregating around a sticky table cluttered with bowls of chips and liquor bottles with your friends and crushes? To be so young! But not all earthly beings are mourning their inability to party with their friends amid the coronavirus pandemic. For many animals, the fun is just getting started.

Ever since Yosemite National Park closed to the public on March 20, the animals who call the area home have been living it up in the vacant park. Typically, this time of year can be hard on the park’s black bears: In a Facebook livestream, a ranger said the usual influx of visitors in the spring is often “difficult” for the bears, as they’re forced to take meandering routes around groups of people and parked cars just to get from one place to another. But not this year. In the absence of humans, the bears have reportedly been out and about in Yosemite Valley, freely munching away on fresh spring grass alongside each other and overall having the time of their lives.

“Now that there are no people, the bears are literally just walking down the road to get to where they need to, which is kind of cool to see,” the ranger, who thinks the bears are “having a party,” continued. Workers at the Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite have also noticed a surge in bears, coyotes, and bobcats chilling outside the hotel rooms.

Yosemite’s animals aren’t the only wildlife thriving in a world vacant of humans. In Wales, gangs of Kashmir goats have ventured into towns, chewing on hedges and climbing various walls. Coyotes are roaming San Francisco’s empty streets. Even animals who have known confinement their whole lives have been able to take advantage of a world without humans. Penguins in aquariums around the world have been temporarily freed from their shackles to take eye-opening “field trips.” On Staten Island, anteaters and armadillos, who typically live behind zoo bars, were escorted around the other exhibits.

Unfortunately, not all animals are faring so well during lockdown: NBC News reported yesterday that with food waste from restaurants and urban trash increasingly scarce, armies of ravenous rats have resorted to infanticide and cannibalism.

Animals Are Glad We’re Not Bothering Them