Have a heart and skip the espressoLocal | Georgina Noyce 15 Jun 2021
A year ago, we all thought we were close to the end of the pandemic; now it's come round again, and we are ready to throw off the shackles (yet again) of masks, ritual hand washing, bumping elbows and locking ourselves away as if unclean.
The human world folded in on itself, but the natural world went on as usual. Or maybe not quite as usual. Flora and fauna naturally moved into the empty spaces left by humans and their technological detritus. Birds that avoided certain airspace or areas usually colonized by humans could suddenly spread their wings and take back their space.
Small mammals could breed in peace, so larger families were produced and lived in harmony and plenty. Larger mammals suddenly found that the absence of tourists gawking at them or blocking their migratory routes meant they could spread out and forage as they had in the days when the human population was smaller and less invasive.
Only the animals that are controlled by humans seemed to suffer. Animals in zoos actually missed the entertainment value of humans. After all, they couldn't behave naturally locked in a zoo, so people-watching helped pass the time.
With people banned from animal watching, they had nothing to do but develop their own neuroses, with some showing signs of self-harm from boredom or agitated pacing as they looked for their daily dose of people to watch.
Humans, shut away from other humans, looked around for noninfected companionship, and many with no experience of caring directly for animals bought themselves dogs and cats or anything else domesticated that they could get their hands on from their virus-imposed cages previously called homes.
As lockdowns ease and people return to their old lives, many of those animals will suffer the stress of being alone or find themselves out on the street, no longer needed to alleviate human boredom.
So if you have a heart, think about donating some money saved during your lockdown to animal shelters, charities and NGOs that will find themselves with a plethora of no longer needed animals who will once again become indirect victims of human behavior.
Donating to an animal welfare group is far more socially beneficial than rushing out to get an exorbitantly priced double espresso that you can and have actually lived without for the past 18 months.Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.