Friday, March 31, 2023

Decline of large carnivores linked to economic growth

improvements we’ve made in our life standard They went to the extermination of the large carnivores with which we co-existed on the planet. A study analyzing the fate of 50 species over the past half century has concluded that the rapid economic development of human societies has driven many of these animals to the brink of extinction .

Socioeconomic factors appear to be more associated with the decline of large carnivores than other environmental factors alone.

a team of scientists from university of reading (United Kingdom), led by Thomas Frederick Johnsonfound that social and economic factors, such as quality of life, are more closely associated with declines in large carnivores (such as lynxes, lions and bears) than those linked to purely environmental conditions such as the loss of their habitats or others. were connected. event resulting from climate crisis.

This means that direct human action on organisms has been more harmful than indirect activities, which can lead to soil erosion or contaminate water or the atmosphere.

in an article published in nature communication, with the support of UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology And this Argentine Institute of Subtropical Biology, The authors suggest that the best way to save carnivores is to promote a sustainable model of development rather than focusing only on issues such as global warming.

twilight of the big cats

“The decline of large carnivores is marked, Lions and tigers are already absent from more than 90% of their historical range. in the region of United KingdomMany carnivores such as the lynx, wolf and bear have already been driven to extinction,” the authors note.

The authors note, “Lions and tigers are already absent from more than 90% of their historical range.”

What has happened is that some of these species can pose a threat to humans, their livestock and their crops, which is why a conflict arises.

As Johnson explains to SINC, “The actions of people (such as poaching, sport hunting, even persecution for their attacks) are causing a greater decline in the populations of large carnivores than the decline of their habitat and climate change.” Let’s bring”.

For his part, the team’s Spanish researchers, Manuela Gonzalez SuarezSINC acknowledges that “there is no data on the effects of legal or illegal hunting for all species and regions”, but it is a fact that direct harassment of animals can lead to their disappearance.

a turning point when more money is received

However, as societies become more affluent, and economic growth slows, people’s tolerance of – and desire for protection – towards big cats and other carnivores increases.

“While we were not able to model victimization, we do know that higher levels of education and better socioeconomic resources reduce the risk of conflict and, with it, retribution. [por sus ataques] Or defensive hunting”, argues González Suárez. Scientists show that the effect of disputes is reduced, For example, with the “Damage Compensation Scheme”.

get rid of hunger

To better understand the phenomenon, British researchers propose the European continent as an example, where a hundred years ago “high rates of poverty and hunger”, in that respect, “Tolerance towards carnivorous animals was very low”, Because no one could afford to have “their cattle eaten by wolves”.

during the last century, except for the disturbances of World War II“population of Europa skyrocketed and people struggled to escape poverty,” which led to “excessive resource consumption and consequent intolerance to large carnivores”Due to which they have reached the verge of extinction.

However, with the slowdown and stabilization of economic growth in recent decades and with citizens becoming less exposed to the effects of poverty, “It seems that their respect for the non-vegetarian life has increased.” Johnson holds.

A paradigmatic case is that of the gray wolf, whose population has increased by 1,800%

According to the scientist, this leniency, as well as better legislation, combined with efforts to conserve biodiversity, “have allowed European carnivores to recover”. a paradigm case gray wolfwhose population has grown by 1,800% since the 1960s, according to the presentation.

But this curve is not uniform across the rest of the world, as there are regions that pass through other parts of their path toward development and are even in the midst of rapid economic growth, which indicates that they will not reach the same level. The tipping point at which threatened species have a chance to recover. The team investigated how changes in social and economic systems might foster such restoration in nature.

more harmonious relationship

At the same time achieving harmony between people and other large carnivores would require, in Johnson’s words, to take a path towards coexistence that would involve “directing financial aid to those living next to biodiversity”. Could

In his opinion, to prevent the risk of losing much of the biological diversity of developing regions, “rich countries should support the world’s poorest.” And, in this mission, “humanitarian equipment” are not enough, nor “ecological solutionsuch as the creation of protected areas”.

“How we perceive our role on the planet is important to understanding that we are another part” Gonzalez Suarez

A more sustainable model could protect the population of carnivores, something that also impresses González Suárez: “We can consider that economic growth is, in principle, based on less uncertainty in the family economy and a subsistence that uses natural resources. Therefore, if a household with 50 cows has access to agricultural subsidies and loss compensation, they may be more relaxed about the presence of a large carnivore, even if it is one of their cattle. attacks on

Spanish researchers compare the situation to a family “with two cows that live day by day and lack medical or veterinary assistance”, concluding that “it is not difficult to understand that A carnivore could represent a big problem for them”.

However, even in this case, education and traditional habits are key elements, as “there are cultures that coexist well with large carnivores, even when resources are few and uncertain.”

Therefore, according to Gonzalez Suarez, the importance of “How We View Our Role on the Planet”, Since it is important to “understand that we are another part” when it comes to valuing the rest of the living beings.

He also points out that there is another angle to consider and this has to do with the changes to the environment due to the use of natural resources and the population load in the area: “In a less developed country, human beings have a rural life. way, with few infrastructure and low resource consumptions, but as the socioeconomic level increases, resources increase per persongenerally increases the density of population and infrastructure”. This means greater use of the natural environment and impacts on living organisms.

Furthermore, “when a society’s level of development is high, imported raw materials are consumed and local primary production is reduced, while population growth slows and is concentrated in cities, which are the gateways to development.” Opens. The renewal of the countryside and the re-colonization or expansion of large carnivores”.add.

These factors, together with a “Change in mindset and greater appreciation of living beings”, They may make coexistence possible, the researcher concludes.

In any case, those responsible for the study recommend an economic model of slower and more sustainable growth, which without “lock people in poverty for a long time”Be able to develop “solutions to support both biodiversity and people”.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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