The human-wildlife relationship has become strenuous over the decades. With growing human population, rapid development and shrinkage of natural habitat, the encounter between wild animals in man dominated areas has become inevitable.
Now adding to the woes, scientists at the University of Washington have published research in the journal Nature Climate Change that states warming of the planet will add to the ongoing human-wildlife conflicts.
According to the new research, climate change can drive conflicts by modifying animal habitats like sea ice for polar bears as well as the timing of events, wildlife behaviours and resource availability.
It is also forcing people to make changes in their way of living, like alterations in their behaviour, place of dwelling. With many immigrating to different countries and seeking asylum. Scientists observed 49 climate affected places across six continents and oceans, to deduce that in over 80% of cases, resource scarcity has deepened the conflict.
The study gave examples from different parts of the world, where the climate crisis has forced animals into human territories, often leading to casualty to both the animal and humans. Tapirs in Mexico and elephants in Tanzania and Kenya, where droughts lead the animals to move into villages in search of food or water, resulting in crop damage and retaliatory killings, as per the study.
Agriculture sector is also facing the brunt with 69% cases showing farmers are forced to utilise protected areas for activities such as cattle grazing and crop production when resources are scarce.
According to the research published it was revealed that climate change-related governance policies did not serve as conflict aggravators. Enforcing laws that discourage land development at “wildland-urban interfaces” will reduce livestock predation by carnivores. Also if laws and regulations increase the spatial overlap between humans and wildlife, the inverse will take place, the research stated.