Humans, ‘Most Dangerous Predators,’ to Accelerate Wildlife Extinction
Scientists have quantified the impact of human activities on wild animals, leading them to classify humans as the most dangerous predators. The study, which analysed data on nearly 50,000 different wild animals spanning mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, highlights the results of human exploitation of global wildlife.
Dr Rob Cooke from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was deeply concerned over the scale of human impact on wild animal populations. “We knew humans had an impact on wildlife, but the extent revealed by this study is truly alarming,” said Dr Cooke.
Approximately one-third of all wild animals, totalling 14,663 species, are exploited by humans for various purposes, such as food, medicine, clothing, and the pet trade. The demand for these animals is causing severe pressure on their populations, with 39% of the exploited species now being pushed towards extinction due to human activities.
Comparatively, humans pose a threat to wild animals hundreds of times greater than natural predators like the great white shark, which has long been considered one of the apex predators in marine ecosystems.
As humans continue to exploit wild animals, nearly half of all species are at risk of extinction. This poses a danger to entire ecosystems, disrupting the delicate balances that have evolved over millions of years.
Human ‘super predator’ status affects ecological functions and interactions. Entire food chains and ecosystem dynamics are threatened, leading to further consequences for human societies that heavily rely on these ecosystems for resources and services.
The current era is termed the Anthropocene, characterised by human activity as the primary driver of climate change and environmental impact.
The Anthropocene, an era defined by the undeniable impact of mankind’s activities on the planet’s geology and ecosystems, has reached a breaking point. Human actions are now the primary driver of climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, and species mass extinction. The consequences of human actions resonate throughout the globe, leaving no corner untouched.
The study also revealed that domesticated animals now outnumber wild animals on land, indicating the significant influence of human actions on shaping the natural world.
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