Effects of Urban Sprawl on Wildlife Imagine yourself driving down the street in the middle of your suburban neighborhood and all of a sudden a deer Jumps out in front of your vehicle causing you to slam on the brakes. You sit in your car wondering why there was an animal in the middle of you neighborhood. You should ask yourself: Is urban sprawl effecting our wildlife? Urban sprawl is definitely effecting our wildlife, but many species are learning to adapt to living so close to humans.
As I began looking for resources I found that there was a vast amount of knowledge on the topic. I found a variety of different resources that I could use to aid me in the writing of my research paper. I found that the vast majority of my resources were scholarly Journals and academic articles. In the past twenty years people have slowly begun to notice the increased number of wildlife seen in urban areas and neighborhoods. As our cities begin to grow outwards and expand their limits we began to invade the homes of many different species of wildlife.
In my experience from growing up in a very outdoors orientated family, I have seen how species of wildlife live and act differently between living ompletely in the wilderness and living in urban areas. In the United States urbanization is more widespread and endangers more species than any other human activity (Regan et al. 2008). It is because of this that we are seeing more and more wildlife ending up in the middle of urban areas. In response to urbanization, wildlife have adapted or moved to other habitat, their fitness has been reduced (Gill et al. 001 a; Frid & Dill 2002) or their movement restricted, and in some cases they have been extirpated (Woodroffe 2000). With the introduction of habitat conservation plans to offset incidental ake of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (Harding et al. 2001 ;Rahn et al. 2006), remnant habitat patches are currently incorporated into multiple-species conservation plans in the United States. (Regan et al. 2008) The presence of some wildlife species in close proximity to dense human populations can create conflict, forcing resource managers to address issues relating to urban wildlife (DitchKoff et al. 2006).
The Fish Wildlife and Parks agencies in each state is responsible for resolving any conflict between people and wildlife. In some tates they are beginning to allow the hunting of certain wildlife in cities. This allows them to somewhat control the numbers of wildlife in urban areas. As you can see I was beginning to get some valuable research from my academic journals. After I had gotten this far I had decided that it would be wise to have someone check over my work. In doing so I found that I had made a few crucial mistakes in writing this paper. I found out that I need to incorporate more of a narrative format.
As soon as I corrected some of my earlier mistakes I began to look Tor more InTormatlon on my toplc. I Degan to 100K Tor InTormatlon on speclTlc specles that were moving closer to the human population. One species I found that was particularly interesting was mountain lions. They move in to urban areas to prey on people’s house pets that are found outdoors for instance dogs and cats. In doing this they can be a threat to the human population as well. From my own personal experience back in Montana I know that there has been more than a few times where a mountain lion has been spotted near the elementary school.
In these cases school fficials hold the students in the building until they know that the animal is safely away from endangering the children or when Fish Wildlife and Parks officials have hunted down the animal to safely relocate the animal. In a study conducted at the University of Washington (see Kertson et al. 2013) on the amount of time and overlap the mountain lions and humans have. They attached GPS units to 36 mountain lions from 2003 to 2008. They record their movement and the range that they covered. What they found was that residential use for mountain lions ranged from 55% to of time spent in residential areas.
The average for all mountain lions was 7% of their time was spent in residential areas. They also found it that highest residential overlap was found in young mountain lions followed by adult females. In this overlap the most common type of interaction was mountain lion sightings while mountain lion encounters were the least common (Kertson et al. 2013). Confirmation rates for this study were extremely low at 29% and 55% of interactions were stemmed from dogs and other wildlife activity (Kertson et al. 2013). Sightings in residential areas rarely correlated with encounters.
At most mountain ions were found to have spent less than three days in residential areas before returning to wilderness. In hunting, treeing, and trapping mountain lions back home I know that most times mountain lions can be responsible for the death of a variety of livestock for instance sheep, goats, and young calves, because mountain lions are very opportunistic predators. They are easier prey because of their small size and a lack of antipredator strategies. This becomes important because most people with sheep and goats are more than likely Just hobby farmers with a few acres of land new esidential areas.
After using all I could from that resource I began looking for other resources that would be helpful. I eventually found another academic Journal using Google Scholars. It discussed the difference in populations in urban areas vs. rural areas. I thought this would be useful in tell the difference that living in urban areas can have on some species for instance the blackbird, wood pigeon, mallard, striped field mouse, and the red fox. In urban areas or cities it can be easy to survive a winter with the availability of food, shelter, and safety from predators.
There is less pressure from predators in the city and the spatial limitations of suitable sites surrounded by built up areas (Luniak 2004). In the cities weaker and often crippled animals are more likely to survive than tney would In rural areas ao to predator pressure. Reduced migratory behavior connected with better possibilities for wintering in the city. This takes advantage of the milder urban microclimate, snow-free spaces and ice-free waters, and the rich resources of anthropogenic food, which is found as refuse or offered by the feeding public.
In Central Europe, ynurbic populations of the blackbird, mallard, Coot (Fulica atra), mute swan (Cygnus olor), and rook (Corvus frugilegus), spend winter mostly in breeding areas. Rural populations of these species, however, migrate long-distances to winter quarters. The urban striped field mouse (in Warsaw) and red fox (in England) have also demonstrated a strong tendency towards a sedentary life (Luntak 2004). In Luniak’s study he found that blackbirds in urban areas begin breeding up to one to four weeks earlier that blackbirds that live in rural areas.
They were also ound to usually have two to three broods while blackbirds in the forest only have one to two. Urban blackbirds tended to live one to two years longer than rural ones (Luniak 2004). In contrast those individuals living in the city were found to have a higher infestation of parasites and considerably higher blood parameters. They also were found to be victims of collisions with objects, for instance traffic, glass, and wires. In searching for more useful resources, I began to realized that the resources that I was finding were drifting more and more away from my topic.
It is here where I egan to think of how I was going to draw my research paper to a conclusion. I started of looking up examples of how a research paper of this type was concluded. I also asked for help from people who had briefly read over my paper. After doing my best to find the correct way to wrap up my research paper this is what I came up with. In concluding this essay it is my belief that urban sprawl is effecting our wildlife in many different ways. For some species they are learning to adapt quite well in urban areas, and in some instances urban areas are the safest place for them.
On the contrary though it is also pushing people to interact with some species that people may be scared of, or not correctly know how to effectively cohabitate together. If our urban areas are to continue to expand outward people should be expected to know what situations they are putting themselves in by moving closer to where wildlife call their home. Work Cited Athreya V, Odden M, Linnell JDC, Krishnaswamy J, Karanth U (2013) Big Cats in Our Backyards: Persistance of Large Carnivores in a Human Dominated Landscape in India. PLOS ONE 8(3): e57872.
DitchK0ff, Stephen, Sarah Saalfeld, and Charles Gibson. “Animal Behavior in urban ecosystems: MOOITlcatlons Oue to numan-lnaucea stress. ” urDan Ecosyst. (2006): n. page. Print. Kertson, Brian, Rocky Spencer, and Christian Grue. “Demographic influences on cougar residential use and interactions with people in western Washington. ” Journal or Mammalogy. 94. 2 (2013): 269-281. Print. Regan, Helen, Douglas Deutschman, et al. “Relationships between Human Disturbance and Wildlife Land Use in Urban Habitat Fragments. ” Conservation Biology. 22. 1 (2008): 99-109. Print.