Leave something alone for five minutes and we know what happens. Leave Canberra alone for five minutes, and there’ll literally be kangaroos in the streets.
Five weeks into COVID-19 lockdown and it seems nature is already reclaiming the city centre.
A local Uber driver, Umair Rehmat, shared a video to his social media account of three kangaroos jumping through an empty street in Civic.
Coming across the marsupial trio during his nightshift with the transport provider, Umair snapped a 15-second video from his car and uploaded it as a reel to his TikTok account.
The caption reads: “Canberra lockdown be like [crazy face emojis] city is for kangaroos now.”
So far, the video has been played 180,000 times, has received 17,600 likes and been shared more than 3000 times.
Many of the 394 comments mention how little time it took for the kangaroos to reclaim the city, as well as how this only confirms the tall tales other countries have heard about Australia.
“This is why foreigners think we have kangaroos everywhere,” reads one comment.
“Finally the kangaroos are getting the chance to check out what the hairless tall walkers have done to the place,” reads another.
One eagle-eyed viewer noted the kangaroos were very compliant and even “stopped on the red light and waited for the light to turn green”.
Although some people also pointed out they did seem to ignore the sign forbidding a right-hand turn.
Others suggested they were breaking health restrictions by being out and about without masks, and that perhaps vaccination should be extended to cover kangaroos.
Then there was the simple comment: “I miss Canberra.”
The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is the species most common to the ACT, with the region having some of the highest population densities of the animal in southeast Australia.
However, this means the ACT also comes with the highest number of incidences between kangaroos and motorists.
Tracking studies reveal that while remaining faithful to a particular area, kangaroos are nomadic and won’t hesitate to move around in search of richer food sources.
Photos from the initial two weeks of the ACT’s COVID-19 lockdown show just how quiet the streets were, with normally busy thoroughfares falling silent as Canberrans heeded the health advice and stayed at home wherever possible.
Essential workers and grocery shoppers were about the only people spotted driving around town, as shown in a series of images from traffic cameras released by the ACT Government.
However, as restrictions were relaxed on 2 September, 2021, people have been able to meet with up to five others in public outdoor areas. This has been accompanied by an increase in traffic along Canberra’s arterial roads.
Enjoy it while it lasts, kangaroos. We’ll be back.