Wild Animal Communication and Humans

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Animal communication with humans is not a rare occurrence. While animals including wild animals may cause harm to humans, they are also helpful. Even though some wild animals that have been tamed will relate freely with humans, they will exhibit random reactions to different situations. So, certain precautions need to be followed and extra attention from an expert is required when dealing with these wild animals. Are wild animals beneficial or are they harmful to humans? Two different studies that talks about wild animals, their interactions with humans and the merits and demerits of these interactions will be reviewed in this write-up. It will also give an analysis of a wild animal that is beneficial and can be trusted around humans, and another one that is perceived as harmful or whose coexistence with people is considered to be less valuable.

Wild Animals’ Human Disturbance Tolerance

The population decline of most species is either directly or indirectly linked to human disturbance. Nevertheless, some animals coexist very well with humans. The degree of tolerance of wildlife to human disturbance varies and may, therefore, be essential in the understanding of human-animal coexistence. Samia, Nakagawa, and Nomura (1) investigated the tolerance of lizards, birds and mammals and the factors that promote it in birds. A review of literature revealed that humans are usually perceived to be predators by most animals. This is the reason why anthropogenic activities have a significant impact on the numbers and behaviors of animals. For instance, previous studies have revealed that birds of Australian and European origin have a larger Flight Initiation Distance (FID), and their populations are therefore reducing.This is an indication that the species are less tolerant to humans. A relationship between the increased rate of urbanization and animals’ human tolerance is expected, which in turns enhances the vulnerability of less tolerant species. Samia, Nakagawa, and Nomura (1) thus found the establishment of the factors and predictive models of the tolerance of animal species to human disturbance to be vital and urgently necessary. The researchers, hence, identified the specific characteristics that are related to either responsiveness or tolerance to human presence. The meta-analysis study entailed the use of previous research that determined the comparison of varying animal species' responses to different levels of human populations (Samia, Nakagawa and Nomura 2).

Hence, this study entailed a comprehensive meta-analysis of different previous researches that assessed the tolerance of various species of mammals, birds, and lizard to human disturbance. The researchers found that more disturbed animals were more tolerant to humans than the less troubled ones. Also, the study findings indicated that the animals' tolerance magnitude and direction to people were best predicted using their diet, body mass and clutch size. Birds found in urban centers where the population of humans is high were found to be more tolerant to disturbances from the humans. Moreover, the study findings showed an expectation that large birds would be more intolerant to human disturbances, just as is the case in the majority of animals. However, this was not the case as the Flight Initiation Distance of small birds due to human disturbances was more as compared to that of larger birds. Nonetheless, Samia, Nakagawa, and Nomura (4) note that this phenomenon can be explained using the optimal escape theory which states that animals will always consider the limitations and benefits of immigration prior. It is probable that bigger birds view escaping as more tedious and requiring a lot of energy as compared to smaller birds which are agiler and use less energy during flight. Consequently, larger birds are more tolerant to non-lethal human disturbances due to the costs involved when escaping. Furthermore, the researchers explain that a relatively bigger brain associated with larger birds enables them to assess the risks better which might make them opt to stay. Besides, their size also enable them to defend themselves better when threatened. The above factors can, therefore, be used to explain the differences in FID among big and small birds.

Co-adaptation and Coexistence between Large Carnivores and Humans

The conservation of the wildlife is vital. However, some of them, large carnivores being an example, require protected areas and their conservation in proximity to people is a matter of debate. While such a coexistence is beneficial to the well-being of the animals and a milestone in wildlife conservation, the interaction also has negative impacts that can be significantly minimized. The operationalization of a co-existence between large carnivores is, therefore, essential as it can enhance the well-being of humans besides reinforcing the global recovery efforts of the animals (Carter and Linnell 575). Co-existence, therefore, refers to a state in which animals and people existed together peacefully on the same landscape through governed systems from the governments or other bodies by utilizing both informal and formal rules. Thus, through coexistence, the risks posed by carnivores to humans are managed and reduced to tolerable levels. Although most conflicts between humans and carnivores arise due to economic factors, recent studies have found that people's cultural, social, emotional, and cognitive factors also play a significant role in conflict. The constant efforts being made to protect huge carnivores across the globe are also a sign that the tolerance levels between humans and animals are improving. Carter and Linnell (576) note that the tolerance levels between humans and carnivores may also be directly influenced by human-human relationships.

For instances, the international travelers, tourists, and organizations may insist on the protection of carnivores in particular areas whereas the locals might oppose the idea. Thus, a reasonable solution that considers that input of the local communities has to established. However, the researchers conclude that the best way of dealing with the human-wildlife conflicts is by encouraging mutual adaptations between the two species in shared landscapes. The approach ensures that both humans and carnivores can change their behaviors and learn from their past experiences to pursue their interests with other species rights and interests in consideration. Research has shown that large animals such as the cougars, wild dogs, and tigers can easily adapt to humans on shared landscapes and promote peaceful coexist between the two species.

Trusted Human-wild Animal Interaction

Many wild animals have been used as pets by most people around the world. Nonetheless, Carlos (108) states that parrots, reptiles, and other birds are among the wildest animals that are preferred by most people as pets, especially in Costa Rica. Importantly, he notes that most of these wild animals kept as pets are captured from forests in their natural habitat and not bought from pet shops. The species of parrots kept in Costa Rica households are mainly from the local forests and breeds. The ready availability of birds in the nearby forest, ease in caring and their friendliness to the people make them the most preferred pets. For instance, parrots are small and do not require too many resources for their maintenance and feeding. Nonetheless, the practice is still illegal, and parrots kept as pets in most homes have been deemed as endangered species (Carlos, 122).

Untrusted Human-Wild Animal Interaction

There are some wild animals that should always be kept wild and away from any human interactions. The big cats usually make up a majority of those animals that can never be trusted to have a successful interaction with the human being. For instance, tigers which have been kept as pets for years should be set free and allowed to roam in the wild freely. Nyhus, Tilson, and Tomlinson (579) elaborate that tigers are not just dangerous due to injuries that they can cause to man. The wild cats can also lead to the spread of various diseases amongst humans during close interactions and contacts; it is illegal to keep them as pets in most countries and states in the United States. Instances of physical injuries caused by these animals are believed to be more reported through the media. According to Nyhus, Tilson, and Tomlinson (579), despite the presence pseudo-domestication in some tigers, the animals still retain their natural predatory instincts and visceral reflexes making them extremely dangerous. Their ability to inflict severe and sometimes fatal wounds to people without any warning means that these animals can not be trusted and should never be allowed to come into close contact with humans. The bites can also cause bacterial infections which can become fatal if not well treated by qualified physicians. Thus, although the animals are still being kept as pets today, they should be allowed live freely in their natural habitats thus making the interactions with human limited (Nyhus, Tilson, and Tomlinson 581). Such a move will ensure that people are protected from their predatory nature.

From the above analysis, it is clear that human beings and wild animals can learn to co-exist together without any problems. The benefits of human and animals living together in harmony are immense. Nonetheless, care should be taken to ensure that neither the animals nor people are adversely affected by their coexistence. Education forums can be vital in enlightening people on how they should live with various animals species. This can be timely achieved through methods such as the introduction of such programs in schools’ syllabus. Moreover, the issue should be approached in a unified manner where all the stakeholders including international organizations, governments, communities, residents of certain areas, and even experts get involved in coming up with viable solutions. Additionally, land-use planning is also an effective way of reducing any cases of human-wild life conflicts (Woodroffe, Simon Thirgood, and Alan, 388). Protection of relevant areas, their designation as wildlife zones and investments in alternative ways of land use can also ensure that any adverse consequences of the interaction between animals and humans are avoided. Encouraging community-based natural resource management is also another of making sure that there is peaceful co-existence between humans and wildlife. Establishing compensation mechanisms will also ensure that people will not harm animals, but rather call the relevant authorities they damage their properties. Thus, we can conclude that peaceful co-existence between humans and animals should be encouraged to ensure that both parties can get to enjoy all the benefits that can be realized from the same.

Conclusion

Human and wildlife interactions have existed for centuries in all parts of the world. Despite the many benefits that occur as a result of these interactions, there are some cases when adverse effects have been experienced as a consequence of the interactions. These impacts may lead to individual animals or in some cases even humans leaving the shared landscapes to areas that are safer and secure for that particular species. Nonetheless, through adaptation, people can learn to co-exist peacefully with wild animals, particularly the big carnivores. Additionally, certain wild animals, including parrots, can be used as pets while others such as tigers can never be trusted to freely interact with human. Thus, even as the human-wild life conflicts continue to increase around the world, proper solutions that take into account the well-being of animals and human beings should be implemented.

Work Cited

Carter, Neil H. and John D. Linnell. "Co-Adaptation Is Key to Coexisting with Large Carnivores." Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31.8 (2016): 575-578.

Drews, Carlos. "Wild Animals and Other Pets Kept in Costa Rican Households: Incidence, Species, and Numbers." Society & Animals 9.2 (2001): 107-126.

Nyhus, Philip J., Ronald L. Tilson, and J. L. Tomlinson. "Dangerous Animals in Captivity: Ex Situ Tiger Conflict and Implications for Private Ownership of Exotic Animals." Zoo Biology 22.6 (2003): 573-586.

Samia, Diogo M., et al. "Increased Tolerance to Humans among Disturbed Wildlife." Nature Communications6.8877 (2015): 1-8.

Woodroffe, Rosie, Simon Thirgood, and Alan Rabinowitz. "The Future of Coexistence: Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts in a Changing World." Conservation Biology Series-Cambridge- 9 (2005): 388.

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