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Animals worldwide are giving up their ways and sticking closer to home as cities, farms and roads break up their natural habitat

HARRY PETTIT: ‘A new study found mammals living in areas with high human activity move up to three times less far than animals in areas isolated from people. This pattern persists globally, from African forest elephants to foxes and red deer in Britain, affecting species both big and small. Experts say that human settlements, roads and fences break up their natural habitat and block the natural migration of mammals, allowing for the easy spread of deadly diseases. This habitat ‘fragmentation’ also hinders animals’ ability to mate and find shelter and food. Reduced mammal movement also has an affect on the environment as many plants rely on mammals to disperse their seeds.

‘The importance of the geographical movement of animals in the wild has long been documented,’ said study coauthor Dr Adam Kane, from the University College Cork, Ireland. ‘It is necessary for the animals to find food, water, mates and new habitats to live in’… The authors of the report say that cutting short the natural movements of animals is not without its consequences. Disease can spread more rapidly if a sick individual doesn’t move far, and the movement of animals also allows seed dispersal from plants. This, in turn, feeds into the natural cycle of the environment as nutrient and seed dispersal is restricted’. SOURCE…


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