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Animals are becoming night owls to avoid humans

Animals responded strongly to all types of human disturbance, regardless of whether people actually posed a direct threat, suggesting that our presence alone is enough to disrupt their natural patterns of behavior.

MONGABAY: ‘Large mammals are spending more time hunting and foraging under the cover of darkness to avoid humans, a new study has found. Researchers compiled data from 76 studies, and analyzed activity patterns of 62 mammal species, including bears, deer, coyotes and tigers, to find that wild animals were 1.36 times more active at night in areas with high human presence compared to their counterparts living in areas with low human presence… In fact, in 83 percent of the case studies the researchers looked at, animals showed some increase in night-time activity in response to human presence, the team reports in the study published in Science. These results seemed to be consistent across species and continents…

It’s not just direct threats like hunting making the animals more nocturnal, the study found. Even recreational activities like hiking and mountain biking, or activities like collection of forest produce, agriculture, and development of infrastructure such as roads seem to be inducing shifts in the mammals’ activity schedules. “Animals responded strongly to all types of human disturbance, regardless of whether people actually posed a direct threat, suggesting that our presence alone is enough to disrupt their natural patterns of behavior,” said lead author Kaitlyn Gaynor’. SOURCE…

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