CALGARY (CityNews) – If you feel like you’ve come across a few more wildlife sightings in the city than usual, you’re not wrong.
With people staying indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say wildlife are venturing out into the places where people used to congregate.
“Animals are curious by nature, so they may be going into different areas to assess if they can nest there or find food,” said Holly Lillie, executive director of the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation. “With less human activity in some areas, it’s reasonable that we would see more wildlife.
“Wildlife by nature are deterred by humans, they’re not domestic by nature so they don’t want to be anywhere we are.”
Lillie says the uptick in sightings is also compounded with spring migration.
“We’re really lucky in Alberta to be home to an abundance of wildlife,” she explained. “Many wildlife will migrate here in the spring and they will nest here and have their young, so thousands of animals are making their way back here right now.”
In either case, that means more wildlife sightings for residents like Trish Tweten, who has lived in Calgary’s Tuscany community for 17 years. Just recently, she had her very first neighbourhood moose sighting.
“I was just coming back on my morning walk, looking up from my phone as I changed my podcast and came face to face with a moose, and screamed,” said Tweten. “Felt kinda silly.
“It turns out she was the mom and started walking towards me and that terrified me. So I backed onto my neighbour’s lawn just in case I need to bang on the door for them to let me in. But then mom and baby started walking down the street on the sidewalk.”
There’s also been an increase in sick or hurt animals being admitted to Alberta’s wildlife institute.
Experts say that’s because spring has come early this year, and because people are being more attentive while travelling on foot rather than in vehicles.