“The animals are returning to their natural habitats. We are the virus.”
The first time I read this statement–or something similar–it was really earnest. Since then, stories of animals returning to their natural habitats, now emptier than ever due to human self-isolation measures, have peppered the news cycle and made the internet a place of gooey, drippy, sing-songy hope. (By that I mean that, of course, the internet turned it into a joke that has not yet—yet!—gotten old.) And I genuinely love it.
Below I’ll enumerate some of my favorite animal-centric news from the past few weeks, and I’ll try exercise some willpower by not uttering the word “baby” or “petunia” 800 times. You’re lucky this isn’t a podcast.
1. These ducks in Sirmione, Italy, practicing duck-social-distancing, six duck-feet apart
Tell me that if you saw this little flock waddling down the street you wouldn’t be intimidated as hell. Leave the gun, take the bread crumbs.
2. These mountain lions in my family’s neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado
I got a text from my mother the other day with just “oh my gosh”–A BAD SIGN for anyone who knows Angela. When I pressed her after a few minutes of eye-twitch panic she admitted that a mountain lion had been sniffing through our front yard, done a lap in our cul de sac, and peaced. But look how cute they are!!! I was like… OK, Mom. Go watch “Tiger King,” then we’ll talk.
3. These wild turkeys in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, working the runway
Turkeys in Boston are living their best lives these days… pic.twitter.com/a1Y5WGNgvt
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) March 24, 2020
Sissy that freakin walk, my guys! For some reason all I can think of while looking at this is reputed turkey advocate Benjamin Franklinrolling over in his grave, being like “Look, you bastards!”—even though I know that whole story about him wanting to swap a turkey for our bald eagle is a myth.
4. This baby racoon boom in Riverside Park, New York
My history with raccoons is that they’ve only ever hissed at my outdoor cats and knocked over my trash cans looking for food, so often that my family, unaffectionately, refers to them as “trash pandas.” But this video of baby raccoons cautiously making their way down a stone wall just melted my stone-cold heart into a baby raccoon cuddle puddle.
5. These possums, nesting in flowering trees
When Edith sent me an email with a link to this story, the subject line was just: Possum. Reader: I’ve never clicked faster. What joy to discover incredibly pure images of large possums sitting in flowering trees near the Museum of Natural History where, on their lunch break, they can partake in self-education about their fellow mammals. Tender.
6. These goats with better hair than me, thriving in Wales
If I weren’t busy falling in love with them, I’d ask them for their haircare routine.
7. These dinosaurs, returning to Times Square
Wow. This is New York today where the city’s streets are empty and nature has returned for the first time since 65,000,000 BC.
The earth is healing, we are the virus. pic.twitter.com/UUQwgrtW7R
— St Peter (@stpeteyontweety) April 5, 2020
History is happening in Manhattan.
8. These cows, returning to the ocean
Wow. Cows are returning to the sea. Nature is healing. 🙏 We are the virus. 😔 pic.twitter.com/xoZ2Rj1wHJ
— Tiago P. Zanetic (@TPZanetic) April 11, 2020
A special reunion <3
9. These Lisa Frank dolphins, back in the Hudson River where they belong
This photo of the Hudson River was taken yesterday. The earth is healing. We are the virus. pic.twitter.com/QDTizi2i6Q
— Mark Lee (@meesterleesir) April 12, 2020
It makes the heart hurt with happiness.
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