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Cooped up, Indians rediscover fauna out there!

Cooped up, Indians rediscover fauna out there!

Locked in since the midnight of March 24 due to the coronavirus scare, people across India have rediscovered an array of fauna they have been living amid all the hustle and bustle of city life without perhaps even realising.

Living in urban or semi-urban areas, many have seen and heard of so-far unseen and unheard of cacophony right outside their dwellings.

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Excited folks can only grab their mobiles or cameras and rush to their balconies or windows to begin a shooting spree to fill excitement in their mostly uneventful lives within the confines of their homes.

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Scores of videos and pictures of unprecedented or rare sightings of teeming but so-far hidden wildlife have emerged from all over India, and surprisingly, even from a concrete jungle like Mumbai.

Wildlife officials of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, (northwest Mumbai) shot videos of shy Spotted deer, horned antelopes, chitals, and antlered sambars, roaming the usually crowded public garden near the Mithi River.

A birdwatcher, Priyanka Gowale clicked pictures of rose-ringed parakeets, oriole, red-vented bulbul, Alexandrine parakeet from a flat window in Kandivali east.

Others like Ruma M. Bose reported sighting drongo, Indian rock pigeons, Asian koels, common tailorbirds, oriential magpie robin, white-breasted kingfishers and grey hornbills.

Residents of an apartment complex in Malabar Hill were pleasantly surprised to see half a dozen peacocks and peahens casually visiting their complex, perching on parked vehicles and generally enjoying in the locality minus the human hordes.

Mumbaikar Darshan Khatau shot dolphins in the Arabian Sea off Malabar Hill from his flat, while a tour operator Kiran Bhoir clicked several dolphins and big fish in Thane Creek near the Panju Island.

Citizens have posted videos of different species of Indian deer — a flock spotted last week on the main roads of Jabalpur, video shot by Pankaj Barve from his bungalow. Another video shows a young chital prancing about in the Bay of Bengal's refreshing waves on a desolate beach near Puri, Odisha.

A majestic herd of elephants was shot by a family in Coorg, and villagers captured in their videos a lone tusker lumbering on the streets of Wayanad, Kerala.

A biker driving on a road in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, was shocked to see a mammoth casually strolling on the road, making him abandon his two-wheeler to take refuge behind a tree.

Fortunately, the elephant barely noticed him and went his way peacefully, flapping his huge ears. The biker gathered his wits and his vehicle to return home with a wild tale to tell.

A Mumbaikar, Mahesh Baikar, who stepped out to a pharmacy in Ashok Van, Dahisar east last week, was left paralysed with fear in his tracks as a leopard crossed the road barely a few metres ahead of him, "I was terrified… I bolted back home and will never step out at night again," he told IANS.

Nitin Shinde, Sarpanch of Marul-Haveli village in Satara, said he was petrified to see a leopard hiding in his home last week. After a huge effort by the villagers and local forest authorities, they managed to rescue the animal and release it back in the forests, said Rohan Bhate, who clicked the big cat.

Forest officials shot a full-grown hungry sloth bear on the prowl, letting out an occasional blood-curdling growl, in Paratwada town of Amravati a couple of days ago as the townsfolk slept, a wildlife activist Kishore Rithe told IANS.

"A lot of wildlife, normally not visible to humans otherwise, has now emerged because of the lockdown, either for hunting, exploring the territories usually crowded by us… There are no humans, no traffic, no noise or sound pollution, the temperatures seem to have receded despite the summer, which emboldens these creatures to step out of the forests into the concrete jungles," smiled Rithe.

Some sailors have posted videos of huge humpback whales in the Arabian Sea near the Bombay High gas fields, but officials refused to comment.

Sushil Uke, of Kelshi village in Ratnagiri, who happened to drop in on the nearby beach, was amazed to see hundreds of young Olive Ridley turtles crowding the empty shores and laying eggs by the dozens.

A local youth posted a video of an 8-metre-long python slithering on the Pusad-Washim road, leaving viewers both amused and in awe.

A civet cat was seen on a deserted square in Calicut, Kerala last week, while a Mumbaikar Anant Joshi espied a couple of playful mongoose in his society garden in Dahisar one morning.

In Chandigarh, locals posted a video of a herd of Nilgai moving around without a care near the Punjab and Haryana High Court buildings, amazing the locals.

In Mumbai's SGNP and hill stations of Matheran (Raigad) and Lonavala (Pune) hundreds of different varieties of hungry monkeys were seen jumping around desperately for food, which they got in ample quantities from the humans who seemed to have disappeared suddenly!

Mumbai diamond merchant Asim Shah attributes the earlier situation to "unchecked human aggression" on the planet.

Coronavirus scare has left humans cowering for safety, but at the same time provided the wildlife an opportunity to 'reclaim' the space it lost to humans over the years..