Can you believe that animals in the wild are becoming nocturnal to stay away from humans? Surprisingly, research conducted by the WWF and other organizations has found that our furry friends are actually staying up at night to prevent interactions with people. The reason why animals have started sleeping through the day to avoid humans is so crazy, you’ll have to read to believe.
Everyone knows that human beings have had a pretty major environmental footprint on the planet. Not only have humans altered the Earth with land development and agriculture, but we’ve also practiced deforestation. According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018, human beings have destroyed a whopping 60% of animals like mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, in the last 50 years.
This has resulted in a huge loss of land for wildlife, developing in the mass extinction of some animals, and the endangerment of others. Interestingly enough, the precious wildlife that still thrives in the wild has definitely adapted to human presence. That’s why several species of animals have literally changed their daily habits. This includes changing their waking day-to-day activities to nighttime.
A New Trend
Shockingly, WWF’s research, the enormous amount of food and land used by humanity over the last 200,000 years has negatively impacted animals around the globe. In fact, WWF’s study shows that human beings have had a much larger effect on the planet than any other living creature. Sadly, the human footprint has resulted in the extinction of beloved animals like sea turtles, gorillas, tigers, and orangutans. As a result of our impact on the environment, hundreds of critters have completely changed their sleeping patterns to embrace nocturnal life.
Another study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley shows that animals have started to display a new trend: nocturnality. Believe it or not, the university’s research demonstrates that fun hobbies like camping and hiking are extremely disruptive to wildlife. About the study’s results, Berkeley ecologist Kaitlyn Gaynor revealed, “It suggests that animals might be playing it safe around people.” Gaynor continued, “We may think that we leave no trace when we’re just hiking in the woods, but our mere presence can have lasting consequences.” Yikes!
Change of Pace
As if living in the wild wasn’t hard enough, several species are actually transforming into night owls just to avoid us. Unfortunately, a different study conducted by Gaynor and her colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley found that many animals will eventually lose most, if not all, of their natural environment. Even worse, the study discovered that “in places where wild animals co-occur with humans, animals may minimize risk by separating themselves in time rather than in space.” That means that even if an animal could spend time with a human, it would most likely choose not to.
For instance, Berkeley’s study highlighted that mammals like the sun bear typically enjoy spending about 80% of their time basking in the sun. But now, even sun bears have completely changed their sleeping habits. Incredibly enough, ecologists at Berkeley has estimated that about 90% of sun bears now spend their waking hours during the nighttime. Since more humans are entering the sun bears’ territory during the day, the animals have been forced to retreat from their preferred schedule and come out at night. That’s not all: coyotes and antelopes have been impacted by the human imprint as well. This dramatic change of pace for animal life might have some disturbing consequences. While researchers believe that nocturnality won’t exactly cause animals to go extinct, it could possibly have “ecosystem-level consequences.” Hopefully, things take a turn for the better before it’s too late!
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