Wildlife

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A lion (Panthera leo) Wildlife at Maasai Mara (Lion).jpg
A lion (Panthera leo)
A tiger (Panthera tigris) Panthera tiger in a marshy area in captivity.jpg
A tiger (Panthera tigris)

Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. [1] Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, forests, rainforests, plains, grasslands, and other areas, including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities. [2]

Contents

Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways, including the legal, social, and moral senses. Some animals, however, have adapted to suburban environments. This includes such animals as domesticated cats, dogs, mice, and gerbils. Some religions declare certain animals to be sacred, and in modern times, concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest against the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment.

Global wildlife populations have decreased by 68% since 1970 as a result of human activity, particularly overconsumption, population growth and intensive farming, according to a 2020 World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report and its Living Planet Index measure, which is further evidence that humans have unleashed a sixth mass extinction event. [3] [4]

Use for food, as pets, and in medicinal ingredients

For food

A mesh bag full of live frogs waiting for a buyer at Chiang Mai's Thanin market. Frog meat in Thailand is mostly used in stir-fries and Thai curries. Kob Thanin Market.jpg
A mesh bag full of live frogs waiting for a buyer at Chiang Mai's Thanin market. Frog meat in Thailand is mostly used in stir-fries and Thai curries.

Stone Age people and hunter-gatherers relied on wildlife, both plants and animals, for their food. In fact, some species may have been hunted to extinction by early human hunters. Today, hunting, fishing, and gathering wildlife is still a significant food source in some parts of the world. In other areas, hunting and non-commercial fishing are mainly seen as a sport or recreation. Meat sourced from wildlife that is not traditionally regarded as game is known as bushmeat. The increasing demand for wildlife as a source of traditional food in East Asia is decimating populations of sharks, primates, pangolins and other animals, which they believe have aphrodisiac properties.

In November 2008, almost 900 plucked and "oven-ready" owls and other protected wildlife species were confiscated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Malaysia, according to TRAFFIC. The animals were believed to be bound for China, to be sold in wild meat restaurants. Most are listed in CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) which prohibits or restricts such trade.

Malaysia is home to a vast array of amazing wildlife. However, illegal hunting and trade poses a threat to Malaysia's natural diversity.

Chris S. Shepherd [5]

A November 2008 report from biologist and author Sally Kneidel, PhD, documented numerous wildlife species for sale in informal markets along the Amazon River, including wild-caught marmosets sold for as little as $1.60 (5 Peruvian soles). [6] [ self-published source? ] Many Amazon species, including peccaries, agoutis, turtles, turtle eggs, anacondas, armadillos are sold primarily as food.

As pets and in medicinal ingredients

Others in these informal markets, such as monkeys and parrots, are destined for the pet trade, often smuggled into the United States. Still other Amazon species are popular ingredients in traditional medicines sold in local markets. The medicinal value of animal parts is based largely on superstition.[ citation needed ]

Religion

Many animal species have spiritual significance in different cultures around the world, and they and their products may be used as sacred objects in religious rituals. For example, eagles, hawks and their feathers have great cultural and spiritual value to Native Americans as religious objects. In Hinduism the cow is regarded sacred. [7]

Muslims conduct sacrifices on Eid al-Adha, to commemorate the sacrificial spirit of Ibrāhīm (Arabic : إِبـرَاهِـيـم, Abraham) in love of God. Camels, sheep, goats, and cows may be offered as sacrifice during the three days of Eid. [8]

Tourism

Many nations have established their tourism sector around their natural wildlife. South Africa has, for example, many opportunities for tourists to see the country's wildlife in its national parks, such as the Kruger Park. In South India, the Periar Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary are situated around and in forests. India is home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries showing the diversity of its wildlife, much of its unique fauna, and excels in the range. There are 89 national parks, 13 bio reserves and more than 400 wildlife sanctuaries across India which are the best places to go to see Bengal tigers, Asiatic lions, Indian elephants, Indian rhinoceroses, birds, and other wildlife which reflect the importance that the country places on nature and wildlife conservation.

Suffering

Animals living in the wild experience many harms due to causes which are either completely or partially natural, such as starvation, dehydration, parasitism, predation, disease, injury and extreme weather conditions. [9] In recent years, a number of academics have argued that we should work towards alleviating these forms of suffering, [10] [11] while others have argued that wild animals are best left alone [12] or that attempts to relieve suffering are unfeasible. [13]

Destruction

Map of early human migrations, according to mitochondrial population genetics. Numbers are millennia before the present. World map of prehistoric human migrations.jpg
Map of early human migrations, according to mitochondrial population genetics. Numbers are millennia before the present.

This subsection focuses on anthropogenic forms of wildlife destruction. The loss of animals from ecological communities is also known as defaunation. [14]

Exploitation of wild populations has been a characteristic of modern man since our exodus from Africa 130,000 – 70,000 years ago. The rate of extinctions of entire species of plants and animals across the planet has been so high in the last few hundred years it is widely believed that we are in the sixth great extinction event on this planet; the Holocene Mass Extinction. [15] [16] [17]

Destruction of wildlife does not always lead to an extinction of the species in question, however, the dramatic loss of entire species across Earth dominates any review of wildlife destruction as extinction is the level of damage to a wild population from which there is no return.[ clarification needed ]

The four most general reasons that lead to destruction of wildlife include overkill, habitat destruction and fragmentation, impact of introduced species and chains of extinction. [18]

Overkill

Overkill happens whenever hunting occurs at rates greater than the reproductive capacity of the population is being exploited. The effects of this are often noticed much more dramatically in slow growing populations such as many larger species of fish. Initially when a portion of a wild population is hunted, an increased availability of resources (food, etc.) is experienced increasing growth and reproduction as density dependent inhibition is lowered. Hunting, fishing and so on, has lowered the competition between members of a population. However, if this hunting continues at rate greater than the rate at which new members of the population can reach breeding age and produce more young, the population will begin to decrease in numbers. [19]

Populations that are confined to islands, whether literal islands or just areas of habitat that are effectively an "island" for the species concerned, have also been observed to be at greater risk of dramatic population rise of deaths declines following unsustainable hunting.

Habitat destruction and fragmentation

Deforestation and increased road-building in the Amazon Rainforest are a significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon wild areas, increased resource extraction and further threats to biodiversity. Amazonie deforestation.jpg
Deforestation and increased road-building in the Amazon Rainforest are a significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon wild areas, increased resource extraction and further threats to biodiversity.

The habitat of any given species is considered its preferred area or territory. Many processes associated with human habitation of an area cause loss of this area and decrease the carrying capacity of the land for that species. In many cases these changes in land use cause a patchy break-up of the wild landscape. Agricultural land frequently displays this type of extremely fragmented, or relictual, habitat. Farms sprawl across the landscape with patches of uncleared woodland or forest dotted in-between occasional paddocks.

Examples of habitat destruction include grazing of bushland by farmed animals, changes to natural fire regimes, forest clearing for timber production and wetland draining for city expansion.

Impact of introduced species

Mice, cats, rabbits, dandelions and poison ivy are all examples of species that have become invasive threats to wild species in various parts of the world. Frequently species that are uncommon in their home range become out-of-control invasions in distant but similar climates. The reasons for this have not always been clear and Charles Darwin felt it was unlikely that exotic species would ever be able to grow abundantly in a place in which they had not evolved. The reality is that the vast majority of species exposed to a new habitat do not reproduce successfully. Occasionally, however, some populations do take hold and after a period of acclimation can increase in numbers significantly, having destructive effects on many elements of the native environment of which they have become part.

Chains of extinction

This final group is one of secondary effects. All wild populations of living things have many complex intertwining links with other living things around them. Large herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations of insectivorous birds that feed off the many parasitic insects that grow on the hippo. Should the hippo die out, so too will these groups of birds, leading to further destruction as other species dependent on the birds are affected. Also referred to as a domino effect, this series of chain reactions is by far the most destructive process that can occur in any ecological community.

Another example is the black drongos and the cattle egrets found in India. These birds feed on insects on the back of cattle, which helps to keep them disease-free. Destroying the nesting habitats of these birds would cause a decrease in the cattle population because of the spread of insect-borne diseases.

Media

A Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) Tamiasciurus douglasii 000.jpg
A Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii)

Wildlife has long been a common subject for educational television shows. National Geographic Society specials appeared on CBS since 1965, later moving to American Broadcasting Company and then Public Broadcasting Service. In 1963, NBC debuted Wild Kingdom, a popular program featuring zoologist Marlin Perkins as host. The BBC natural history unit in the United Kingdom was a similar pioneer, the first wildlife series LOOK presented by Sir Peter Scott, was a studio-based show, with filmed inserts. David Attenborough first made his appearance in this series, which was followed by the series Zoo Quest during which he and cameraman Charles Lagus went to many exotic places looking for and filming elusive wildlife—notably the Komodo dragon in Indonesia and lemurs in Madagascar. [20] Since 1984, the Discovery Channel and its spin off Animal Planet in the US have dominated the market for shows about wildlife on cable television, while on Public Broadcasting Service the NATURE strand made by WNET-13 in New York and NOVA by WGBH in Boston are notable. Wildlife television is now a multimillion-dollar industry with specialist documentary film-makers in many countries including UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Canada.[ citation needed ] There are many magazines and websites which cover wildlife including National Wildlife Magazine, Birds & Blooms, Birding (magazine), wildlife.net and Ranger Rick for children.

See also

Related Research Articles

Holocene extinction Ongoing extinction event caused by human activity

The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the sixth mass extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is an ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch as a result of human activity. The included extinctions span numerous families of plants and animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates. With widespread degradation of highly biodiverse habitats such as coral reefs and rainforests, as well as other areas, the vast majority of these extinctions are thought to be undocumented, as the species are undiscovered at the time of their extinction, or no one has yet discovered their extinction. The current rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates.

Hunting Searching, pursuing, catching and killing wild animals

Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wild animals. Hunting wildlife or feral animals is most commonly done by humans for meat, recreation, to remove predators that can be dangerous to humans or domestic animals, to remove pests that destroy crops or kill livestock, or for trade. Many non-human species also hunt - see predation.

Extinction Termination of a taxon by the death of the last member

Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point. Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively. This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where a species presumed extinct abruptly "reappears" after a period of apparent absence.

Conservation biology The study of threats to biological diversity

Conservation biology is the management of nature and of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions. It is an interdisciplinary subject drawing on natural and social sciences, and the practice of natural resource management.

Habitat conservation management of habitat

Habitat conservation is a management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore habitats and prevent species extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range. It is a priority of many groups that cannot be easily characterized in terms of any one ideology.

Nairobi National Park first national park in Kenya, Africa

Nairobi National Park is a national park in Kenya that was established in 1946 about 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Nairobi. It is fenced on three sides, whereas the open southern boundary allows migrating wildlife to move between the park and the adjacent Kitengela plains. Herbivores gather in the park during the dry season. Nairobi National Park is negatively affected by increasing human and livestock populations, changing land use and poaching of wildlife. Despite its proximity to the city and its relative small size, it boasts a large and varied wildlife population, and is one of Kenya's most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries.

Wildlife conservation practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats

Wildlife conservation refers to the practice of protecting wild species and their habitats in order to maintain healthy wildlife species or populations and to restore, protect or enhance natural Ecosystems. Major threats to wildlife include habitat destruction/degradation/fragmentation, overexploitation, poaching, pollution and climate change. The IUCN estimates that 27,000 species of the ones assessed are at risk for extinction. Expanding to all existing species, a 2019 UN report on biodiversity put this estimate even higher at a million species. It's also being acknowledged that an increasing number of ecosystems on Earth containing endangered species are disappearing. To address these issues, there have been both national and international governmental efforts to preserve Earth's wildlife. Prominent conservation agreements include the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). There are also numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) dedicated to conservation such as the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International.

Conservation status Indication of the chance of a species extinction, regardless of authority used

The conservation status of a group of organisms indicates whether the group still exists and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future. Many factors are taken into account when assessing conservation status: not simply the number of individuals remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, and known threats. Various systems of conservation status exist and are in use at international, multi-country, national and local levels as well as for consumer use.

Wildlife management however wildlife conservation is very crucial for making eco being balanced

Wildlife management attempts to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people using the best available science. Wildlife management can include gamekeeping, wildlife conservation and pest control. Wildlife management draws on disciplines such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, ecology, climatology and geography to gain the best results.

Wildlife Trust of India

The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is an Indian nature conservation organisation to conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals. WTI has been credited for achieving conservation milestones such as Recovering population of critically endangered species, Translocation of Species, Reducing Human-Animal Conflict, Rescue and Rehabilitation of Animals including Elephants,Tigers,Leopards, One-horned Rhino and Bears.

Critically endangered IUCN conservation category

A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

Wildlife of India Wildlife of India

India is home to a large variety of animals. It is a biodiversity hotspot with its various ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas in the north to the evergreen rain-forests in the south, the desert sands of the west to the marshy mangroves of the east. India, lying within the Indomalayan realm, is home to about 7.6% of mammal, 14.7% of amphibian, 6% of bird, 6.2% of reptilian, and 6.0% of flowering plant species. India's forest lands nurture about 500 species of mammals and 2000+ bird species. This richness of Indian wildlife has been celebrated since time immemorial. Four of India’s national symbols consist India’s mammals.

Wildlife trade worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of wildlife

Wildlife trade refers to the commerce of products that are derived from non-domesticated animals or plants usually extracted from their natural environment or raised under controlled conditions. It can involve the trade of living or dead individuals, tissues such as skins, bones or meat, or other products. Legal wildlife trade is regulated by the United Nations' Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which currently has 183 member countries called Parties. Illegal wildlife trade is widespread and constitutes one of the major illegal economic activities, comparable to the traffic of drugs and weapons. Wildlife trade is a serious conservation problem, has a negative effect on the viability of many wildlife populations and is one of the major threats to the survival of vertebrate species. The illegal wildlife trade has been linked to the emergence and spread of new infectious diseases in humans, including emergent viruses.

Bird conservation field in the science of conservation biology related to threatened birds

Bird conservation is a field in the science of conservation biology related to threatened birds. Humans have had a profound effect on many bird species. Over one hundred species have gone extinct in historical times, although the most dramatic human-caused extinctions occurred in the Pacific Ocean as humans colonised the islands of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, during which an estimated 750–1800 species of bird became extinct. According to Worldwatch Institute, many bird populations are currently declining worldwide, with 1,200 species facing extinction in the next century. The biggest cited reason surrounds habitat loss. Other threats include overhunting, accidental mortality due to structural collisions, long-line fishing bycatch, pollution, competition and predation by pet cats, oil spills and pesticide use and climate change. Governments, along with numerous conservation charities, work to protect birds in various ways, including legislation, preserving and restoring bird habitat, and establishing captive populations for reintroductions.

Genetic erosion is a process where the limited gene pool of an endangered species diminishes even more when reproductive individuals die off before reproducing with others in their endangered low population. The term is sometimes used in a narrow sense, such as when describing the loss of particular alleles or genes, as well as being used more broadly, as when referring to the loss of a phenotype or whole species.

Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary

Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and a proposed tiger reserve located in the Nuapada district of Odisha, adjoining Chhattisgarh. It has a total area of 600 km2 (230 sq mi). The sanctuary harbours a great diversity of wildlife habitats, with a vast plateau, multiple valleys, gorges and magnificent waterfalls. The sanctuary forms the catchment area of the Jonk River, over which a dam has been constructed to facilitate irrigation. The Indra nullah and Udanti River lies to the south of the sanctuary. The important vegetation of the site comprises dry deciduous tropical forest.

Endangered species Species of organisms facing a very high risk of extinction

An endangered species is a species that is very likely to become extinct in the near future, either worldwide or in a particular political jurisdiction. Endangered species may be at risk due to factors such as habitat loss, poaching and invasive species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists the global conservation status of many species, and various other agencies assess the status of species within particular areas. Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species which, for example, forbid hunting, restrict land development, or create protected areas. Some endangered species are the target of extensive conservation efforts such as captive breeding and habitat restoration.

Defaunation is the global, local or functional extinction of animal populations or species from ecological communities. The growth of the human population, combined with advances in harvesting technologies, has led to more intense and efficient exploitation of the environment. This has resulted in the depletion of large vertebrates from ecological communities, creating what has been termed "empty forest". Defaunation differs from extinction; it includes both the disappearance of species and declines in abundance. Defaunation effects were first implied at the Symposium of Plant-Animal Interactions at the University of Campinas, Brazil in 1988 in the context of neotropical forests. Since then, the term has gained broader usage in conservation biology as a global phenomenon.

Conservation photography photography genre

Conservation photography is the active use of the photographic process and its products, within the parameters of photojournalism, to advocate for conservation outcomes.

In biology, overabundant species refers to an excessive number of individuals and occurs when the normal population density has been exceeded. Increase in animal populations is influenced by a variety of factors, some of which include habitat destruction or augmentation by human activity, the introduction of invasive species and the reintroduction of threatened species to protected reserves.

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