More Animals Are Adopting Nightlife To Avoid Humans

Posted: Jun 17 2018, 1:49am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
More Animals are Adopting Nightlife To Avoid Humans
Red fox at night in London. Credit: Jamie Hall

New study reveals that wildlife is becoming more nocturnal due to human activities

Human activities are forcing animals to become more active at night. As human population is growing and getting closer to natural habitats, more animals are finding themselves in danger. It leaves them with no choice but to move around less in daytime and adopt the nightlife.

Scientists have long established that humans are disrupting nature. They are responsible for illegal hunting and habitat destruction that have reduced wildlife around the world. But the impact of humans on the behavior of animals is not immediately apparent or easy to quantify. A new study is the first to measure the global effects of human disturbance on the daily patterns of wildlife and shows that human disturbance is creating a more nocturnal natural world.

“It suggests that animals might be playing it safe around people," said lead researcher Kaitlyn Gaynor from University of California, Berkeley. "We may think that we leave no trace when we're just hiking in the woods, but our mere presence can have lasting consequences."

To understand the impact of humans on the daily activities of wildlife, researchers analyzed 76 studies involving 62 species on six continents. They were focused on large mammals because they often come into contact with humans due their massive size. Then, researchers compared how much time those mammals spent actively at night under different types of human disturbance such as hunting, hiking and farming. They found that human activities indeed scare animals and drive them to become more active at night. On average, human presence increased about 20 percent of nighttime activity, even in animals that are not known for working at night. Mammals like impala, tigers and grizzly bears seemed to have done much of their work at night when they were around people. To researchers’ surprise, the results were consistent throughout the world.

"It's a little bit scary," said Marlee Tucker from Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany who was not part of the research. "Even if people think that we're not deliberately trying to impact animals, we probably are without knowing it."

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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