Nature Under Lockdown: Fact or Fiction?

Sea turtles are building more beach nests than usual thanks to the decrease in tourist numbers
Sea turtles are building more beach nests than usual thanks to the decrease in tourist numbers | © Itsik Marom / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Josephine Platt
Commissioning Editor21 April 2020

With planes grounded and a proportion of the global population indoors, it’s been reported that Mother Earth is healing. But for every report about a positive ecological change thanks to Covid-19, there are a few fraudulent ones – some so absurd, they’ve actually gone viral. Culture Trip debunks the myths.

Dolphins and swans have ‘returned’ to Venice’s canals

There are two things going on here. First, did the swans ever leave? It’s said they’re regular visitors to the canals of Burano. But dolphins? We call that #FakeNews. It looks as if some Twitter users are trying to capitalise on coronavirus for a spike in likes. However, with the water running cleaner than usual, locals say that fish are visible for the first time in decades. Perhaps dolphins will make an appearance – just not quite yet.

Are dolphins really swimming around Venice’s canals? | © Dave Ellison / Alamy Stock Photo

A herd of goats have taken over a Welsh town

Really? Yes. In Llandudno, wild Kashmiri goats have ventured from the nearby Great Orme headland out into the empty streets. For the people of Llandudno, their “new normal” includes watching 120 naughty wild goats roam as they please and eat their way through bushes. Town councillor Carol Marubbi has said it’s providing “free entertainment” to residents. “I think they are wondering what’s going on like everybody else,” she told the BBC.

For the first time in 30 years, the Himalayas are visible from India

True or false? This one is true. We know this, because India’s notoriously high pollution levels have dropped substantially since the nationwide curfew. Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed this with a data comparison of air quality before lockdown to the present. Delhi, for instance, saw a 44 per cent reduction in air pollution levels on the first day of lockdown, according to India’s Central Pollution Control Board. Meanwhile, residents in the city of Jalandhar, which is more than 100 miles away from the Himalayas, have shared pictures that show the mountain peaks. They say it’s the first time in three decades that the mountains have been visible. “Just amazing,” writes one Twitter user from their home in Punjab, India.

The Himalayas are visible for the first time in 30 years, according to locals | © Goncalo Diniz / Alamy Stock Photo

Elephants got drunk and passed out in a Chinese village

Articles have circulated about elephants in China living it up with their mates, while humans continue to social distance. And by ‘living it up’, we mean getting smashed on corn wine and passing out in tea fields. But while we know elephants might like a drink – in Africa they are known for gnawing away on the fermented fruit from the marula tree – is this really true? Obviously, it’s a hoax. Tik Tokkers can be thanked for spreading the white lie – elephants were really spotted in Yunnan Province, China; it’s not an uncommon sight.

Penguins are roaming around the streets of South Africa

Video footage shared by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds will confirm this is true. A trio of penguins, native to Namibia and South Africa, can be seen waddling their way through the empty streets of Simon’s Town, Cape Town. Who knows where they were going? One guess is that they were en route to the shops for essentials.

Penguins have taken over the streets of Simon’s Town in Cape Town | © Kevin Schafer / Alamy Stock Photo

Rare turtles have built the most nests in 20 years on Thai beaches

Thailand’s beaches are known for drawing crowds of tourists. But with international flights grounded and beaches deserted, they’re drawing new visitors: rare leatherback sea turtles. The director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center confirmed this is so, saying the turtles have built more nests since November than in the last 20 years. It’s good news for the little fellas, who are in fact an endangered species. They can now lay their eggs in quiet areas and rest assured that their nests will be left alone.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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