Notes on hope—false and real—during the pandemic They have flown and prowled and crept and crawled onto our social media pages. No doubt you have seen some of them. The trio of mountain lions strolling through a snowy neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado. A pack of wild boars racing through a beach town not far from Barcelona. The black bears and bobcats in Yosemite Valley having the run of the place with a couple of million fewer tourists around. Animals all over have been returning to suddenly open habitat—"Where’d all the humans go?" they might wonder—like the 150,000 flamingos turning ponds pink in Mumbai or the sonically unimpaired whales swimming in what were shipping lanes just months ago. Some of the stories are a little silly—goats loose on the streets of San Jose!—and of course, since we inhabit an era of disinformation and online hoaxes, some of the wildlife comebacks have turned out to be fake news. The supposedly wasted elephants passed out in a tea garden in Yunnan, China, after getting drunk on corn wine and the dolphins swimming in the canals of Venice never really happened (sorry folks, the water is cleaner, but there are still no dolphins). […]

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