28% of vertebrates die because of humans on the land

According to a study published in January in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, on the land, 28% of vertebrates (including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians) die because of humans.

Related: We are destroying the Earths wilderness

28% of vertebrates die because of humans - Proboscis monkey
28% of vertebrates (including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians) die because of humans. One unfortunate example of this is the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or long-nosed monkey is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey with an unusually large nose. It is endemic to the southeast Asian island of Borneo and known as “the bekantan” in Indonesia. The proboscis monkey is a large species, being one of the largest monkey species native to Asia. Only the Tibetan macaque and a few of the gray langurs can rival its size. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced in the species. Males have a head-body length of 66 to 76.2 cm (26.0 to 30.0 in) and typically weigh 16 to 22.5 kg (35 to 50 lb), with a maximum known weight of 30 kg (66 lb). Females measure 53.3 to 62 cm (21.0 to 24.4 in) in head-and-body length and weigh 7 to 12 kg (15 to 26 lb), with a maximum known mass of 15 kg (33 lb). They generally live in groups composed of one adult male, some adult females and their offspring. All-male groups may also exist. Some individuals are solitary, mostly males. The proboscis monkey is assessed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and listed in Appendix I of CITES. Its total population has decreased by more than 50% in the past 36-40 years to 2008 due to ongoing habitat loss because of logging and oil palm plantations, and hunting in some areas due to the species being treated as a delicacy, as well as its use in traditional Chinese medicine. Text Source: Wikipedia Photo: PXHere

A team of scientists from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyzed the deaths of 42,755 vertebrate animals that died in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania between 1970 and 2018.

Researchers documented these 42,755 mortalities of known cause from 120,657 individuals representing 305 vertebrate species in 1,114 studies. Overall, 28% of the deaths were directly caused by humans and 72% from natural sources.

Predation (55%) and legal harvest (17%) were the leading sources of mortality.

Researchers also found that the larger animals were more likely to be killed by humans than smaller species. Adult animals were also more likely than juveniles to be killed by humans.

Co-author of the study, Jerrold L. Belant, the Camp Fire Conservation Fund professor at ESF has said that “We all know humans can have a substantial effect on wildlife. That we are only one among over 35,000 species of terrestrial vertebrates worldwide yet responsible for more than one-fourth of their deaths provides perspective on how large our effect actually is. And that’s just direct causes. When you also consider urban growth and other land use changes that reduce habitat, it becomes clear humans have a disproportionate effect on other terrestrial vertebrates.”

Belant conducted the study with Jacob E. Hill, another ESF faculty member, and Travis L. DeVault of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

White-tailed deer
The single most prominent species in a study of mortality among terrestrial vertebrates was white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, a medium-sized deer native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles, and some countries in Europe, such as Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. White-tailed deer have long been hunted as game. In some areas where their populations are very high, they are considered a pest, and hunting is used as a method to control it. Image source: Wikipedia

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