Edukemy Gazette

Impacts of Human Disturbance on Wildlife

Impacts of Human Disturbance on Wildlife

Context: A new scientific study suggests that human disturbance can squeeze animals closer together, increasing the odds that they bump into each other.

About the study

  • The study was published in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) journal.
  • The findings of the study were based on 4years of data from more than 2,000 wildlife cameras installed across fields, farms, and forests of Wisconsin, USA.

Key findings of the study 

Key Terms


  • An ecosystem is a community off living organisms interacting with each other and their non-living environment.

Ecological niche

  • An ecological niche refers to the role and position of a species within an ecosystem, including its physical and biological requirements, as well as its relationship to other living organisms.
  • Interspecies encounters: Human disturbance compresses the spatiotemporal niche of wildlife, leading to more interspecies encounters.
  • Species interactions: Landscape changes induced by human activities may disrupt invisible facets of biodiversity such as species interactions.
  • This include effects such as making it harder for prey to evade predators, intensifying competition for resources or increasing the risk of interspecies disease transmission, the researchers say.
  • Changes in ecosystem functions: Human disturbances can change the interactions between species, which can alter the way an ecosystem functions.
  • For example, changes in predator-prey relationships can affect the way energy flows through an ecosystem.

What other ways can human disturbance affect wildlife?

  • Habitat loss: Human activities such as logging, farming, urbanization, and mining can lead to habitat loss, making it difficult or impossible for animals to survive in those areas.

  • Introduction of invasive species: Human activities such as transportation and trade can lead to the introduction of invasive species into new areas, which can outcompete and displace native wildlife.
  • Pollution: Human-generated pollution, such as chemical spills, industrial waste, and plastic debris, can contaminate habitats and make it difficult or impossible for animals to survive.
  • Climate change: Human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation can contribute to climate change, which can alter habitats and disrupt the routines of animals.
  • Noise pollution: Human activities such as construction, transportation and industrial activity can generate excessive noise, which can disrupt the communication and mating patterns of animals.
  • Light pollution: Artificial light at night from human activities can interfere with the natural light cycle of animals, disrupting their feeding, migration and breeding patterns.
  • Human interference: Direct human interference such as hunting, poaching, and fishing can disrupt the routines of animals and can cause direct harm.


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