A leopard in Bombay, a bear in Los Angeles, foxes in London, baboons in Cape Town, peacocks in Madrid, wild boars in the center of Nîmes, Tours or Biarritz… These scenes in the past exceptional have almost become commonplace. Why are wild animals increasingly investing in cities ? What are they looking for there? Answers.
Wild animals and urbanization
Urbanization exponential around the world contributes to considerably reducing natural spaces. Man mites the territories occupied by wild species to build Main highways, activity zones, buildings, housing estates or tourist infrastructures. On all continents, the phenomenon is dividing up or destroyinghabitat of the fauna found there: the forests are intersected by roads, the courses of rivers interrupted by dams. Result: wild spaces occupy only 23% of the Earth’s surface area, up from 85% a century ago.
Massive deforestation dislodges wildlife
In the same way as galloping urbanization, massive deforestation and overexploitation land destroys million hectares forests on the planet, forcing native species to flee. Drainage of marshes, transformation of meadows into pasture, monoculture… encourage the exile of wild fauna. Firewood, agriculture and paper production are the main reasons for cutting down trees. In Indonesia, the fields of oil palms and soybeans have completely razed the orangutan’s habitat. In Brazil, the destruction of the Cerrado savannah has overtaken that of the Amazon rainforest in order to cultivate soy intended primarily for livestock.
Food for wild animals is scarce
Massive deforestation generates a change in behviour in wildlife. Indeed, when his natural habitat is destroyed or deteriorated, the animal which occupies it is condemned to disappear or to go into exile. In front of the rarefaction of its prey, it can thus approach towns and villages to find food. All the links of the food chain are linked to each other: the event affecting one species inexorably has repercussions on another and, in the longer term, on all ecosystems. The use of pesticides also participates in the reduction of food resources. Thus, the rodents and insects, who is accused of destroying crops, are among the first victims of chemicals. Raptors and others birds who feed on them must therefore seek their sustenance elsewhere.
Hunting and poaching of wildlife
Many animal species are coveted by individuals unscrupulous, motivated by greed. Fur, skin, horns, teeth or even the meat of wild animals are at the heart of a legal trade or illegal all over the planet. Whether, the rhinoceros, the tiger, the elephant, the leatherback turtle, the panda or the gorilla, we no longer count the specimens threatened by hunting and poaching. The survivors are then likely to move closer to places free of any danger.
Wild animals in the face of climate change
THE’greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon whose intensification has its origin in human activities. Global warming is due to polluting gases released into the atmosphere by the production of energy, fuel, deforestation, agriculture, animal husbandry and pollution seas and oceans. Temperatures rise to the point of causing frequent periods drought and extremely destructive fires. Confronted with a lack of food and water, the animals then find refuge in more secure, like agglomerations.
What are wild animals looking for in the city?
Wild species will find in urbanized areas what they are now private in their natural habitat:
Food in abundance
In town, wildlife has the opportunity to drink and feed. In North America, raccoons and squirrels know how to open trash cans and sack garbage containers. Some don’t come until mealtime and then go back to sleep in peace in the urban outskirts. In the United States, it is not uncommon to see bear emaciated looking in the streets for something to eat. In addition, more and moreinhabitants provide some food for hungry animals. Across the Atlantic, as in France, however, it is forbidden to feed wildlife to avoid its proliferation in inhabited places. The ban is also intended to prevent the transmission of diseases pets and humans.
A refuge from predators
Along with its abundant food, the city provides animals with a protection against their predators. In South Africa, for example, a large colony of penguins took up residence on Boulders Beach, in an urbanized area of Cape Town. As for cave birds, like the jackdaw, they now prefer to brood in the cavities of houses or steeples than on the cliffs. Wild species have also realized that the hunt was not practiced in the city!
A hospitable and vegetated environment
Unlike the forest, the city offers a multitude of sheltered places severe weather. During harsh winters, wild animals thus find near the dwellings of the heat and comfort. In Quebec, marmots settle under houses and in London, foxes roam the streets. Note that a recent trend also favors the exodus of wildlife to urbanized areas: the various policies environmentalists aimed at greening cities. Intensive tree plantations, revegetation roofs, the development of large public parks and the ban on pesticides are making agglomerations a new pole of attraction for animals forced to leave their natural habitat.