Climate change is driving more conflicts between humans and wildlife, as expanding development, deepening drought and quickly changing ecosystems force animals and people into new territories where they’re more likely to encounter each other, a new study says. Experts have long called for a concerted effort to address these human-wildlife clashes, which can lead to property damage, as well as injuries and death for both humans and animals.
In fact, human-wildlife conflicts are already the leading cause of decline and extinction among large mammals, the researchers said, which can trigger “the transformation of entire ecosystems.” The encounters can also compound financial struggles for communities and are costing the global economy billions of dollars every year, the scientists added.
The study, published Monday by University of Washington researchers in the journal Nature Climate Change, compiled and examined 30 years of research on the subject, spanning every continent except Antarctica. Taken altogether, the research showed an alarming rise of consequences from the encounters, which the study’s authors said highlights the “extraordinary breadth” of the problem.
It’s the second peer-reviewed study published within a month to document the rise of human-wildlife conflicts, defined generally as any interaction between people and animals that results in a negative outcome such as injury or death. The second study, published Jan. 31 in the journal PLOS Biology, found that attacks on humans by carnivorous animals have increased steadily since 1950, linked largely to growing human populations in new areas. [Continue reading…]