One of the very few beautiful things about the coronavirus quarantine is the fact that nature now has time to replenish itself, without having human presence completely demolish it all, whether it's dolphins returning to the ports of Italy, or sea turtles hatching on Brazilian beaches. And with South Africa's Kruger National Park closed due to the virus, it seems as though local wildlife is having a blast.
Nothing will brighten your day quite like these South African lions relaxing during the coronavirus quarantine — their laid back demeanor amid such chaotic times is truly the type of energy all of us needed on this hectic Friday today.
Kruger National Park has been closed for about three weeks, and wildlife is loving it.
Kruger National Park Ranger, Richard Sowry, photographed a pride of lions sleeping in the middle of a usually-busy road by Orpen Rest Camp, which he posted to Twitter on Wednesday, April 15. Generally, he explained in the caption, this is a rare sight to see — the lions tend to reside at Kempiana Contractual Park, which is not accessible to tourists, while this road is generally crowded with traffic.
Kruger National Park officially shut its doors on March 25, according to CNN, as South Africa is currently under a nationwide quarantine to hopefully slow the spread of the coronavirus. In total, the country has recorded 4,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Science Mag, which has led them to lockdown the country through the end of April, to hopefully "flatten the curve."
Check out the photos of the lions, below.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
📸Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
What will happen to Kruger National Park's wildlife when regular activity resumes?
A spokesperson from Kruger National Park, Isaac Phaala, stated that lions are “very smart," and that they are currently enjoying the empty park without human presence, according to The Guardian. Apparently, they enjoy that part of the park when it's empty, because it's dryer than where they normally reside.
"They just occupy places that they would normally shun when there are tourists," Phaala continued, according to CNN. "People should remember that KNP is still a largely wild area and in the absence of humans, wildlife is more active." But what will happen when the park re-opens, potentially at the end of April? Chances are, the lions will simply return to their old stomping grounds within Kruger.
Additionally, Kruger Park's golf course has also attracted wildlife activity.
Kruger Park's Skukuza golf course is also reportedly buzzing with overjoyed animals — according to Travel SA People, Jean Rossouw, the course's superintendent, has spotted packs of lions, hyenas, and even some usually-shy African wild dogs wandering through the generally animal-free golf courses, and the photos are spectacular.
While we wouldn't love to see these guys during a simple game of golf, it's great that they're taking back the land they once roamed freely.
While South Africa's human population is most likely eager to get back to their regular bustling lives, it seems like wildlife is seriously loving the peace and quiet. Sadly, they'll only be able to enjoy it for so long.