Extreme social distancing (Credit: Bella Falk)
Today there’s almost no people left on South Georgia. The coronavirus pandemic struck right at the very end of the summer season, and tourist visits have stopped. Most of the summer staff have gone home, and only a small handful of people remain, isolated from the rest of the world in this remote Eden.
“It’s hard to know how big an impact the pandemic will have on the wildlife,” said Dr Catherine Foley from Oxford University’s Penguin Watch project. “We’ll probably see a decline in tourism, as we saw after the 2008 recession.”
But Foley offered a word of caution. “Since the end of whaling and sealing operations on South Georgia, the island has been largely left to recover away from human influences. During that time, we’ve seen dramatic increases in whale, seal and penguin populations, but we are also seeing huge changes in ecosystems – ocean waters are warming, glaciers are retreating and foraging grounds are moving, all of which can have a dramatic effect on the wildlife. Now this special place faces a new challenge: that of a changing climate.”
(For the source of this, and many other equally intriguing articles, please visit: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20200720-an-abandoned-british-island-reclaimed-by-nature/)