Man drives nature narrowly from every direction. We also unknowingly modify the territory and migration routes of animals in ways whose effects are not yet known.
Human activity and infrastructure force animals to travel up to twice the distance of food, shelter, or mating partners, for example, compared to their fellow species living in their untouched areas. Animal territories have also declined substantially in many species.
That’s what it says Nature Ecology & Evolution extensive study just published in the journal. It was contracted by an Australian trio of researchers from the Universities of Sydney and Deakin.
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Conservation biologist Tim Doherty and colleagues went through a thousand research articles exploring the journeys and territories made by different animal species in nature and in man-made areas.
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Of these, 208 articles of sufficiently good quality were selected for more detailed statistical analysis.
The studies provided a new picture of how human activities have affected 167 animal species around the world. There was a wide spectrum of life from butterflies to fish and from bears to birds.
“The results make you think. On average, human impact either restricted animal mobility by 37 percent or increased mobility by 70 percent, ”the researchers write. The Conversation online publication.
“It’s like you have to move 11 miles more every day to get to work,” the researchers relate the distances folded by the animals to the average Australian commute.
In Finland, a 70 percent increase in day trips would be about the same, about ten kilometers. The average commute here is 14 miles.
For example, deer in North America and Europe are highly migratory species under human influence.
They are driven by hunting and other human activities in nature. In Madagascar, macaques are fleeing deforestation and are having to fetch territory from an ever-larger area.
In the United States, oil spills have scattered otters. In Canada, caribou shun the sounds of the oil industry.
In England, on the other hand, badgers have fled massacres, which have been carried out in the country from time to time for fear of the spread of disease.
It is clear that hunting forces animals to move, but deforestation and the spreading of pastures, for example, drive many species further away from their homelands for food.
The fragmentation of habitats is plaguing the Australian koala, for example. In recent years, Koalas have also suffered from record-breaking hunting fires.
On the other hand, in the vicinity of human settlements, the territory of many species has shrunk. Depending on the species, the change indicates either more cramped living conditions or the fact that there is no need to fold such long distances around the settlement to get food.
Think of city foxes, which have enough rabbits to pop in urban suburbs, or rats that waste waste. Many species also benefit from human activities.
Researchers stress that, for example, nesting times should be better taken into account.
“Human action has a really big impact on how animals move,” Doherty, the lead author of the study, says in a radio interview on Australia’s ABC channel.
Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.
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