Unusual sightings of animals in India during the Coronavirus lockdown


Nilgai in Noida

Bumper-to-bumper traffic and impatient drivers honking away are common around the Great India Place mall in Noida. What was uncommon on this stretch of road one day in late March was a nilgai. The Asian antelope walked about freely till it spotted some policemen. A few decades ago, these antelopes were natural inhabitants of the area. But as forests and farmlands gave way to this city in Uttar Pradesh, they were forced to look for safer areas.

Spotted, Deer in Tirupati

Spotted deer and sambhar were sighted at dawn or after dusk at several places in and around the temple town. Human activity came to a halt after the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams decided to shut down the famous hill temple. The empty ghat roads have become a frequent haunt of spotted deer.

Civet Takes a Zebra Crossing

With vehicles off the roads due to the lockdown, Meppayur in Kozhikode had an unusual visitor one afternoon: a small Indian civet. What caught the attention of some policemen was that the civet used a zebra crossing, unlike most people. Authorities concluded that the animal must have come from some faraway forest area in the Western Ghats. The nocturnal mammal has definitely come a long way, especially after thousands shared the video on social media.

Peacocks in the Neighbourhood

Residents of Mumbai’s Khareghat Parsi Colony in Tardeo has had some surprise visitors. Around a dozen peacocks have wandered on to the streets, much to the delight of the locals watching from inside their homes. The birds are believed to have come from the nearby Doongerwadi forest.

Rhino in the City

Guwahati has always had a wild side. The city has reportedly recorded some 200 species of mammals as it is surrounded by several forest reserves and wetlands. Animals don’t venture out of these areas. But with humans locked inside, a one-horned rhino ambled into Sonapur town, east of Guwahati, from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary 28 km away. Local residents have also been hearing howls of a rare black fox. Priceless experiences indeed.

Nesting in Daylight

While it isn’t unusual for olive ridley turtles to mass nest in Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery and Gahirmatha Beach, daytime nesting is uncommon. But this is being seen in the state after almost seven years. Lack of tourists, trawlers and general human intervention has made the turtles come out of their shell.

Dolphins in Mumbai

Dolphins were spotted in the waters off Marine Drive and Malabar Hill. While they are not uncommon in the marine landscape here, fishing and other human activities keep them away from appearing so close to the coast.