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Climate change fosters increased conflict between humans and wildlife

Credit: PIXTA / CC0 public domain

In 2021, governments, societies and families will be threatened by climate change as wildfires spread in the dry western United States, severe floods occur in Europe, and coastal floods can surge over the next decade. It can be a very important year in how you perceive it.

Brianna Abrams, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington and its Ecosystem Sentinel Center, encourages fellow scientists to make their own points about climate change and another growing human-wildlife conflict. I am. Human-wildlife conflicts can occur when people and wildlife move to the same area or compete for the same resources, such as food.

As a handful of studies show, climate change strains ecosystems and exacerbates human-wildlife conflict by changing behavior, both of which are human-animal contact and potential. You can deepen the competition.In an article published in the journal on July 30th ChemistryAbrahms calls for expanding research into many ways climate change affects complex interactions between human activity and wildlife populations.

In a recent conversation with the University of Washington News, Abrams helps scientists figure out ways to mitigate the effects of these conflicts by incorporating climate change into the study of human-wildlife interactions. I explained. It can also warn policy makers, experts and the general public about potential sources of human wildlife. Conflict Before they occur.

What made you write this summons?

I’ve been looking at this topic for a while. But I was really encouraged when there were two clear examples in front of me from completely different ecosystems where extreme weather led to catastrophic conflict. It wondered to me how popular this is worldwide.

What were these examples?

In 2015 and 2016, the number of whales caught in fishing gear off the west coast of the United States increased dramatically. An unprecedented ocean heat wave occurred off the coast of North America, with two consequences. First, whales moved further along the coast to chase where their prey moved during the heat wave. Second, the timing of the Dungeness crab fishing season has changed. This combination of changes in the way whales use the space available in the ocean and the timing of this fishery created this perfect overlapping storm, which directly led to an increase in whale entanglement.

The second example is from a report by the Government of Botswana, where I did a lot of fieldwork. It cited some of the most human-wildlife clashes on record, large carnivores, predominantly livestock, during the 2018 extreme drought.

Why is it important to consider how climate change drives the conflict between humans and wildlife?

The conflict between humans and wildlife has been extensively studied. Studies show that they have a significant impact on biodiversity, human health, economics, quality of life, and more. However, more collaborative efforts by scientists to examine the impact of climate change on these conflicts may help predict when these conflicts will occur.

How many studies on human-wildlife conflict are involved in climate change?

We have looked up the scientific literature and government reports. I can only see dozens at most. However, these are different incidents, investigated and reported individually, and difficult to compare with each other. Some are anecdotal, as in Botswana’s report.Others make more direct connections Environmental condition Human-wildlife contact, such as whale entanglement. Most recently, more and more governing bodies, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are acknowledging this relationship, and I look forward to it. However, there was no direct perception by the broader scientific community that climate change would fuel more severe human-wildlife conflicts.

Why do you think more studies do not consider the role of climate?

I think it’s a very complicated process. There is a lot to go into creating those conflicts. To understand them, we need to understand not only ecosystems, but also the social or economic factors that drive people to use the space and resources to compete with animals. Relationships and attitudes towards wildlife also show how tolerant people are to contact with wildlife, and what to their encounters, potential property damage and financial loss from wildlife. It plays a big role in how to respond.

These are important considerations. However, I think there is less consideration for the physical environment due to the great emphasis on ecological and social considerations. That doesn’t mean that people weren’t looking into the physical environment. As I said, we have seen dozens of studies. However, most are localized research or government reports.

What are some of the ways climatic factors affect human-wildlife conflict?

Many of the cases we have seen are after ocean heat waves that fueled increased whale entanglement off the west coast and after severe droughts in Botswana.

However, there is also an increase in conflict due to climate change. A 20-year study in New Mexico reported that the frequency of black bear contact with humans and livestock varies with the El Nino / La Nina cycle. Basically, La Niña creates a drought condition for bears, which wander more widely in search of food and utilize alternative food resources. And there are more reports of bears coming into contact with livestock, damaging property and digging trash.

Long-term climate change also causes conflict. In India, long-term climate change has reduced the amount of vegetation preferred by blue sheep, or balals, that have moved to lower altitudes to eat human crops. Although it is a conflict in itself, the movement of Bharal has caused the snow leopard to fall, causing further problems.

What are some of the lesser-known consequences of the human-wildlife conflict?

Many studies have investigated the conflict between humans and wildlife. Climate change— And their long-term consequences. In parts of West Africa and Central Africa, studies have linked an increase in the number of baboons whose predators have been extinct by people to an increase in child labor. Baboons are very aggressive and can attack crops, and children have quit school to protect their farmland accordingly.

These conflicts can also contribute to the outbreak of illness. In the United States, removing puma has explosively increased deer populations, spurring an increase in Lyme disease. Also, in close contact between humans and wildlife, new diseases can be seen as new diseases emerge, as the disease has the opportunity to leap from animal to human.

Does studying human and wildlife conflicts help alleviate them?

Oh, that’s right! There are so many good examples and a wealth of literature on conflict mitigation technology. One of the creative methods that some of Botswana’s colleagues have experimented with is to draw fake eyes on the back edge of the cow because it is unlikely to attack what the predator is looking directly at. ..

Elephants sometimes move to farmland looking for crops. Researchers have found that installing a “fence” in a bee hive can actually prevent this.

What about efforts to mitigate the human-wildlife conflict caused by climate change?

The clearest example that comes to mind in practice is the entanglement of whales off the west coast. In such situations, there was a clear link between oceanographic conditions, animal behavior, and human behavior. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which regulates the Dungeness crab fishery, has begun to consider real-time marine conditions when determining the start and end dates for the Dungeness crab fishing season. This is a collaborative effort to actively reduce the chances of whales getting entangled in the net, and for me it is the gold standard for climate change policy.

However, research has the potential to develop more mitigation efforts. For example, if you know that a particular dispute will occur in the year of El Nino, you can implement a dispute reduction policy and be ready to implement it when the forecast shows the formation of El Nino.

Several exciting artificial intelligence efforts are also underway to predict when conflicts may occur. These can help alert wildlife managers and the general public and take proactive steps to avoid conflict. However, these efforts do not currently consider what the climate is doing. This seems like a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of how climatic conditions affect conflict.

There are many efforts under development or underway to alleviate the conflict between humans and wildlife, but they are not currently considering climate.If good research can clarify the role of climate, You can modify these methods to accommodate your environmental conditions. And in fact, reducing conflict is our goal here. The more we know when conflicts are likely to occur, the more we can intervene to prepare for them or avoid them altogether.

Why can’t we all get along like Namibian herders and wildlife?

For more information:
Abrahms, B, “Human-Wildlife Conflict under Climate Change” Chemistry, July 30, 2021 DOI: 10.1126 / science.abj4216

Quote: Climate change to fuel increase in human-wildlife conflict (July 29, 2021) from Obtained July 29, 2021

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