This is how wild animals were affected by the pandemic – Umeå residents participated in global research

During the pandemic, Umeå residents were able to borrow wildlife cameras from SLU and participate in a citizen research project that is part of a global study.

Over a hundred households within Umeå municipality borrowed the cameras. Now the Swedish University of Agriculture presents the results from Umeå, where five different animal species have been analysed.

The corona pandemic

  • Teachers sue the state – want higher compensation for pregnant women

  • Tourists opt out of China after the pandemic

  • – Two of them showed clear patterns and they were deer and hare, says Tim Hofmeester, researcher at SLU in Umeå.

    They believed that the animals would reduce their activity as more people moved outdoors. But the two animal species instead increased their activity.

    Habituation with people and protection from predators

    Tim Hofmeester believes there are two reasons for this.

    – We did the study in areas close to people, so they are likely to be less afraid of us. And both species are prey for predators, so they may seek shelter in humans.

    At the same time, the study showed that the species that increased their activity also moved more during the night. According to Hofmeester, this can be taken into account in recreation areas in urban environments.

    – On the Stadsliden in Umeå, for example, there are electric light tracks, so you can quite easily decide when you can relax so that there are also dark times during the night when animals can move freely.

    Behaviors different in urban environments and out in nature

    The global study, which was conducted in 21 countries, shows that herbivores in particular increased their activity while most predators decreased their activity as human activity outdoors increased.

    But the herbivores in areas further away from settlements reduced their activity in step with increased human activity.

    See the animals fasting on the wildlife cameras in Umeå in the clip above.