There is no doubt that the novel Corona virus is dominating the headlines since time immemorial or so, it feels. Except for the alliteration there is no direct relation to Corona and corals. But Australia’s tourism sector that is on a halt like other countries is making use of the lockdown as a “fragment of opportunity”.
Fragments of opportunity are the naturally broken coral patches to which corals are manually attached and they grow as a nursery. Tourism operators are working along with researchers to plant corals along the Great Barrier Reef which will result in a healthier coral barrier post lockdown.
Beating lockdown blues with a mission isn’t foreign; in our part of the globe a group of youth is weeding Kerala’s largest freshwater lake. Mullan Payal, an invasive aquatic fern has been choking the freshwater life in Sasthamcotta Lake with huge chunks of decaying biomass. The youth takes turn, maintains a safe distance in this Ramsar site to clear the weed and maintain the suppressed variety of flora and fauna in the aquatic ecosystem.
While we stay home locked down, what has moved back to their natural habitat is the endangered Ganges River Dolphin and the Olive Ridley sea turtles. Akash Deep Badhwan an Indian Forest Service official has tweeted a video of this endangered fresh water dolphin spotted in the Ganges, which is its natural habitat. If the dolphin presented a one-man show, the Olive Ridley Turtles offered a mass entry at the Rishikulya beach in Odisha where massive nesting of the species took place in broad daylight. Over 475000 turtles laid around 60 million eggs that couldn’t be witnessed the previous years due to habitat disturbances caused due to high number of tourist footfall. Similar is the case with the Flamingos, which has thronged the Pallikaranai near Chennai a little early this year due to the low pollution levels.
Pandemics are known to have great impact on society and the world, which COVID-19 is yet to unfold. But the restriction on movement and social distancing is definitely changing the ecology, with its silent inhabitants showing resilience at this time of radical change.