Deer, raccoons, turkeys and other creatures have made their way into urban settings they might normally avoid

We must sadly report that many of these optimistic posts have turned out to be fake – there were no dolphins in Venice’s celebrated canals, or drunken elephants ambling through China’s Yunnan province.

But as the coronavirus crisis changes the rhythms of urban life, there are some early signs that animals – especially the creatures that lurk in the periphery of big cities and suburbs – are feeling emboldened to explore.

In Nara, Japan, sika deer wandered through city streets and subway stations. Raccoons were spotted on the beach in an emptied San Felipe, Panama. And turkeys have made a strong showing in Oakland, California, home of one Guardian editor.

“Normally, animals live in the parts of our cities that we don’t use,” said Seth Magle, who directs the Urban Wildlife Institute at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. “It makes them an unseen presence, kind of like ghosts.”

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