Wildlife

« Back to Glossary Index

**Wildlife Conservation and Threats:**
– Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species found in all ecosystems.
– Global wildlife populations have decreased by 68% since 1970 due to human activities.
– Habitat destruction, deforestation, urbanization, and resource extraction threaten biodiversity.
– Introduced species like mice, cats, and rabbits pose invasive threats, leading to destructive effects on native environments.
– Chains of extinction highlight the domino effect on ecological communities due to the interdependence of species.

**Wildlife Trade and Impact on Populations:**
– Wildlife trade involves legal and illegal activities regulated by CITES.
– Illegal wildlife trade is a major illegal economic activity linked to the spread of infectious diseases.
– Demand for wildlife as food, bushmeat, and products decimates populations.
– Overkill from unsustainable hunting exceeds reproductive capacities, leading to population declines and potential extinctions.
– Island populations are especially vulnerable to overhunting and unsustainable practices.

**Wildlife Tourism and Media Representation:**
Wildlife tourism involves activities like eco-tourism, safari hunting, and wildlife photography.
– Many countries rely on wildlife tourism, aligning closely with eco-tourism principles.
– Wildlife TV shows and documentaries on channels like Discovery and Animal Planet dominate the market.
– The wildlife tourism industry contributes to 7% of the world tourism industry.
– Nature documentaries are popular worldwide, contributing to a multimillion-dollar industry.

**Wild Animal Suffering and Ethical Interventions:**
– Wild animal suffering includes disease, injury, starvation, weather conditions, and killings by other animals.
– Debate exists around human intervention to reduce wild animal suffering and the moral obligations involved.
– Researchers like McMahan, Ng, and Horta delve into the ethics and welfare biology of wild animal suffering.
– Ethical interventions by scholars like Torres, Tomasik, and Pearce emphasize addressing wild-animal suffering and compassionate stewardship.
– Moral obligations towards wild animal suffering are explored by Faria, Delon, Callicott, Simmons, and Sözmen.

**Loss, Extinction, and Conservation Efforts:**
– Defaunation, accelerated extinctions, and concerns about a sixth mass extinction event are highlighted.
– The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity warns of one million species facing extinction due to human actions.
Conservation efforts are crucial to mitigate the impact of habitat destruction and fragmentation on wildlife.
– Urgent political, economic, and social efforts are needed to prevent further extinctions and preserve biodiversity.
– Reports by researchers like Dirzo, Kolbert, Ceballos, and Ripple issue warnings and discuss the reality of the sixth mass extinction.

Wildlife (Wikipedia)

Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous to game: those birds and mammals that were hunted for sport. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, plains, grasslands, woodlands, forests, and other areas, including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities. Some wildlife threaten human safety, health, property, and quality of life. However, many wild animals, even the dangerous ones, have value to human beings. This value might be economic, educational, or emotional in nature.

A lion (Panthera leo)
A lion (Panthera leo). Lions are an example of Charismatic megafauna, a group of wildlife species that are especially popular in human culture.

Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways, including the legal, social, and moral senses. Some animals, however, have adapted to suburban environments. This includes such animals as feral cats, dogs, mice, and rats. Some religions declare certain animals to be sacred, and in modern times, concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest against the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment.

Global wildlife populations have decreased by 68% since 1970 as a result of human activity, particularly overconsumption, population growth, and intensive farming, according to a 2020 World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report and the Zoological Society of London's Living Planet Index measure, which is further evidence that humans have unleashed a sixth mass extinction event. According to CITES, it has been estimated that annually the international wildlife trade amounts to billions of dollars and it affects hundreds of millions of animal and plant specimen.

« Back to Glossary Index