Gwinnett County

COVID-19 pandemic could be impacting wildlife habits

You may have seen pictures from European countries when wild animals began roaming deserted public areas as people remained inside amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A little bit of that is now happening around metro Atlanta.

Along Huntington Hill Trace in Gwinnett County, the pandemic isn’t just about people.

“It’s certainly possible. It’s more likely that people are home more. So they see the animals more,” Georgia Department of Nature Resources wildlife biologist Kaitlin Goode said.

Goode told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen when the quarantine kept people out of public places, or even out and about in their own neighborhoods, critters like foxes and coyotes may have ventured from the woods more often to fill the empty spaces.


“I thought it was snarling. But that might have been me screaming,” said Sue Kelley, who lives in the neighborhood where a fox was recently spotted.

Channel 2 Action News talked to her 11 months ago when she was bitten by one.

Wildlife experts say this is the season when there are more sightings anyway. But animals that encountered fewer people during the lockdown and added more public places to their territory may still be roaming around those places, even though much of the metro has gone back to work.

“It might take them a little while to figure out that we’re moving around again. But once they do figure it out, they’ll go back to what they were doing before,” Goode said.

DNR says it expected a jump in calls while people were in lockdown, but it didn’t happen.