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South African lions take coronavirus cat nap in the street as tourism declines

As tourism slows down in South Africa due to COVID-19, a lion pride took a cat nap in the middle of a road.
As tourism slows down in South Africa due to COVID-19, a lion pride took a cat nap in the middle of a road. Richard Sowry/@SANParksKNP//Twitter

Wildlife are taking back their space as tourism dies down and people are forced to stay indoors during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A South African lion pride, for instance, has been spotted taking a sunny cat nap in the middle of a road, given the lack of traffic.

Workers at the country’s Kruger National Park made the discovery of at least 11 lions sunbathing.

READ MORE: No kidding: Goats ‘take over’ Welsh town emptied by coronavirus fears

According to the park’s tweet, this family of lions are residents of Kempiana Contractual Park, an area that Kruger tourists don’t usually see.

“This afternoon, they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp,” the park wrote, along with the photos taken by ranger Richard Sowry.

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Typically, the area is busy with tourists, but not now given the park has been closed since March 25, according to CNN. The country has been in a nationwide lockdown since then.

“Lying on the road during the daytime is unusual because, under normal circumstances, there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush,” park spokesman Isaac Phaahla told the publication.

“They just occupy places that they would normally shun when there are tourists,” he continued. “People should remember that KNP is still a largely wild area, and in the absence of humans, wildlife is more active.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Wild goats wander deserted Welsh town under lockdown' Coronavirus outbreak: Wild goats wander deserted Welsh town under lockdown
Coronavirus outbreak: Wild goats wander deserted Welsh town under lockdown

South Africa isn’t the only country seeing wildlife taking over.

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In late March, a pack of wild mountain goats was seen in a small community in Wales.

The seaside resort town of Llandudno is typically rammed with tourists each summer, but the COVID-19 outbreak has forced everyone indoors and left plenty of room for visitors of another kind.

A herd of goats walk the quiet streets in Llandudno, north Wales, Tuesday March 31, 2020. A group of goats have been spotted walking around the deserted streets of the seaside town during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus. (Pete Byrne/PA via AP)
A herd of goats walk the quiet streets in Llandudno, north Wales, Tuesday March 31, 2020. A group of goats have been spotted walking around the deserted streets of the seaside town during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus. (Pete Byrne/PA via AP). AP

Locals posted several photos and videos online of roughly a dozen wild Kashmiri mountain goats wandering around downtown Llandudno, where they could be seen hopping on benches and capering around on the pavement over several days.

One video shows the goats treating a retaining wall like a cliff face, standing precariously on the edge while munching on the scruffy grass growing between the stones.

READ MORE: Dolphins return to Italy’s coast amid coronavirus lockdown — ‘Nature just hit the reset button’

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Another video shows the goats wandering through a deserted downtown roundabout intersection.

“They are curious, goats are,” town Coun. Carol Marubbi told the BBC. “I think they are wondering what’s going on like everybody else.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca