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Italy: Wildlife Returning as Humans Stay Away

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Ben Dolbear explores the natural reclamation of Venice and other sites benefiting from a reduction in humanity's impact. | Nature and Environmental

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath

Recently, the city council of Venice approved an unprecedented move to tax any foreign tourists who enter the city. This was due to the vast daily clean-up operation needed and the environmental impact caused by those visiting the ancient city.

The Coronavirus pandemic has left Venice and cities across Italy deserted amid harsh quarantine rules. The global community has been watching Italy closely whilst the extent of the impact is being understood. Today, it seems as though the wildlife of Venice are relocating back.

Nature Returns

Once a powerful presence, the length of the La Serenissima waterways, usually dominated by 30 million annual visitors, the Venetian streets are now being reclaimed by nature. Videos are emerging on social media from Venice locals in awe of what they are seeing for the first time in decades: the return of nature.

At present, only essential boats are allowed to travel through Venice, a decree which has virtually rid the waters of human activity, and allowed the rebirth of animal activity.

According to Classic FM, Venice is the clearest it has been for sixty years, with a spokesperson for the Venetian mayoral office commenting,

‘the water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom’.

In one clip seen in the Guardian, the streets surrounding those locked down is underlined by calm, blue waters, and numerous shoals of fish swimming downstream. In other areas of Italy there are reports of dolphins who have reclaimed the port of Sardinia.

Climate Concern Continues

This news comes just days after European Space Agency had found that pollution had been extensively reduced in China amid the COVID-19 lockdown as well as seeing a strong harsh reduction in air pollution in Italy.

Chris Packham, a well-known naturalist welcomed a reduction in pollution through planes being grounded and there being fewer cars on the road, but said he was worried the global issue of climate change has been forgotten and momentum lost.

In a move that will see Italian tourist sites essentially vacant until at least 3rd April, the European self-isolation measures will hopefully see more environmental positives as the human impact on nature subsides, for now.

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