iNaturalist insights illuminate COVID-19 effects on large mammals in urban centers

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45 Scopus citations


Restricted human activity during the COVID-19 pandemic raised global attention to the presence of wildlife in cities. Here, we analyzed iNaturalist observations of prominent wildlife species around North-American urban centers, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. We suggest that the popular notion of ‘wildlife reclaiming cities’ may have been exaggerated. We found that while pumas ventured deeper into urban habitats during the COVID-19 pandemic, bears, bobcats, coyotes, and moose did not. Species differential behavioral responses may highlight their evolutionary history cohabiting human habitats. Nevertheless, our results highlight the importance of urban nature for people during the pandemic. Our insights could help manage urban wildlife, better plan greenspaces, and promote positive nature engagements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108953
JournalBiological Conservation
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Anthropause
  • Culturomics
  • Human-nature interactions
  • Urban wildlife
  • iNaturalist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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