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by Phineas Rueckert
The hunter-prey drama took place just outside wildlife enthusiast Ennio Ciccotti’s window, in the central Italian town of Scanno.
Four wolves, trailing a herd of red deer, chased them down the road bordering Ciccotti’s house, and ran through town, passing across front lawns and shuttered restaurant terraces.
Eventually, the pack snagged one of the deer as it attempted to jump over a high fence.
There was no need to drag it away, the feasting took place on the spot.
Camera traps had captured images of wolves hunting in suburban forests and fields outside Scanno, but seeing them stalk prey in the centre of town was new, said Ciccotti, a volunteer at the wildlife advocacy organisation Salviamo l’Orso.
During Italy’s COVID-19 lockdown, which began on March 9, Ciccotti logged at least three instances of wolves hunting deer within the town’s confines.
“They just want to eat, so if they are not disturbed by cars, by people, by other human behaviour, they just do what they have to do,” he said by phone.
Stories like this have popped up in many locations in recent months.
Across Europe and around the world, stay-at-home orders since early March have allowed some animals to recolonise—or at least revisit—urbanised spaces, in which their kind once roamed free.
South Africa’s Kruger National Park posted videos on its social media accounts showing lions and hyenas lounging on a golf course in the park’s Skukuza Rest Camp.
A wolverine was photographed on an empty beach in Washington State dining on marine animal leftovers, local media reported.