Last May, a vast number of wildlife were seen roaming around the closed national parks in the U.S., undeterred by high temperatures. The animals were seen wandering on a hillside near the Furnace Creek visitor center. “This is something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes”, stated by Kati Schmidt, a spokesperson for the National Parks Conservation Association. Closed for more than 2 months now due to COVID-19, Yosemite National Park has seen a multitude of wildlife gather in the nearly deserted Yosemite Valley. Deer, bobcats, and black bears cluster together which is noticeable in different parts of the park, roadways, and buildings practically teeming with guests. A number of workers who continued working at Yosemite during the closures observed an abundance of wildlife unperceived in the last century. Dane Peterson, an employee at a hotel, stated “The bear population has quadrupled. It’s not like they usually aren’t here… It’s that they usually hang back at the edges or move in the shadows.”

Rocky Mountain, found in Colorado, and Yellowstone in Wyoming, are showing similar behaviors; however, the human-free hiatus will be coming to an end as the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, which recorded nearly 8 million visitors in 2019, reopened their gates in late March. To secure visitors and staff, the park installed protective gear around the premises and hired seasonal workers to clean and sanitize high use areas. Even though protective measures were installed, the consequences of resuming the park’s operation may be difficult especially on young animals born in tranquil closure, according to wildlife experts. Lindsay Rosa, a conservation scientist, said that young animals born during quarantine might take time to adjust since they did not get a chance yet to be exposed or encounter humans. In addition to her statement, people should be more cautious with amphibians in particular, for they begin a migration.