Mammals moved differently during COVID-19 lockdowns

Animals traveled farther and closer to roads during “anthropause”

Reduced traffic due to COVID-19 lockdowns opened up new movement corridors for mammals around the world in 2020. In a study published in Science, researchers compiled data from 43 mammal species discussed in 76 studies that used GPS tracking data during the first lockdown period from Feb. 1 to April 28, 2020, and compared it to the same period one year later. Data from 2,300 individual mammals revealed that animals traveled 73% further on average in regions where the lockdown was stricter during the first year compared to the second. Animals also traveled 36% closer to roads during lockdowns, possibly as animals feared these areas less due to reduced traffic and human presence.

Read the study in Science.

Header Image: Two African elephants cross a road in Botswana. Credit: Tempe Adams