Given how callously humans use natural resources, Pandora’s box has been opened, resulting in the dangerous global warming predicament we are currently facing. We may thank Devanampiya for his proclamation establishing the first wildlife sanctuary in 3000 BC for the fact that these protected places can now be found practically everywhere in the world. The term “wildlife” is typically used to describe undomesticated animal species that risk people’s safety, health, property, and way of life. However, the word has evolved in recent years to cover various creatures, including plants. Many animals may be found in deserts, plains, grasslands, woods, forests, and other places, even in the most metropolitan areas. Humans and other animals coexisted in the same habitat before civilization but did so within well-delineated territorial boundaries. This unique combination seemed to work. Alternatively, due to the expanding population, the demand for additional land for construction, the need to feed a rising population, and the consequent threat to wildlife.
Wildlife and Urbanization
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that between 1970 and 2016, there was a 68% global average decline in animal species. The four most frequent reasons for wildlife extinction are overhunting, habitat destruction and fragmentation, effects of introduced species, and cycles of death. In this case, our main concerns will be habitat degradation and fragmentation.
The loss and fragmentation of habitat are the main threats to the survival of endangered species. Humans exacerbate habitat degradation through activities like resource extraction, industrial production, and urbanization.
Several factors contribute to habitat deterioration and fragmentation, including pressure from agriculture, mining, logging, trawling, and urban growth. The anticipated urbanization rate for the world will be 66% by 2050. This fast urbanization threatens animal communities by expanding buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. Urbanization occupies large land areas, dividing them into patches, not producing any biomass but rather putting a psychological burden on the local species and disrupting any interspecies interaction because these animals won’t always be able to cross roads or wiggle past structures to get to another patch of land to survive.
The general habitat area for species automatically decreases when there is a sudden shift in land use. Since the newly configured patch of land is too small to accommodate all species, it could eventually lead to territorial competition between them. As a result, species that once lived in now-developed land patches face unprecedented challenges in relocating, readjusting, and readapting to the new configuration of the land.
Reimagine and readapt the wildlife in urban areas
According to estimates, each form of wildlife needs a particular area to survive, thrive, and reproduce. How can we attempt to atone for our heinous actions? We can only change our behavior moving forward by utilizing the many solutions that are accessible and advised by professionals since what has been done cannot be undone.
When a component of the food web or biodiversity is changed, the ecosystem is affected, and every other species must deal with the long-term effects.
Conservationists employ diverse tactics to improve connectivity in fragmented environments. These techniques include building stepping stones, buffers, and corridors to facilitate the movement of animals.
To restore and conserve biodiversity and the environment, WWF has made it a top priority for the past 60 years by collaborating closely with communities and professionals and using a variety of global conservation approaches.
They have assisted in writing legislation to preserve wildlife in cooperation with other national and international groups, including the government. They have also assisted law enforcement in prosecuting wildlife crimes such as wildlife trafficking and unlawful hunting (poaching).
To encourage coexistence with people, WWF has been able to create and safeguard public areas like national parks and animal sanctuaries. They have successfully assisted numerous nations in recovering threatened animals, including the black rhino and the black buck, as well as the Himalayas and South Africa. In terms of architecture, in addition to the vast area designated for animals, some sanctuaries provide several facilities. Resorts, lodges, pathways, bird viewing towers, game regions, and recreational places are among them. Most of these facilities are strategically located far from the primary conservation refugees.
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana)
The second-largest animal sanctuary in the world is located in Botswana across the Kalahari Desert and spans an area of 52,800 square kilometers. Among the animals found in this game reserve are the South African giraffe, Cape buffalo, white rhino, elephant, spotted and brown hyena, Kalahari lion, zebra, cheetah, African leopard, Cape wild dog, and black-backed jackal. Ostrich, baboon.
- Bandhavgarh National Park (India)
The greatest concentration of tigers in India may be found in this sanctuary, which has a total area of 446 square kilometers. This wildlife preserve is well-known for its sizable tiger population and high Bengal tiger density.
- Khao Sok National Park (Thailand)
The most stunning natural refuge covers 739 square kilometers, and Cheow Lan Lake occupies 165 sq km of this. It supports species including mouse deer, wild deer, squirrels, Asian elephants, tigers, langurs, and many others, making up around 5% of all species found on the planet. The species in this wildlife refuge are diverse because of the tropical jungle.
- Wildlife Conservation | Initiatives . WWF/ World Wildlife Fund . [online]. Available at: https://www.worldwildlife.org/initiatives/wildlife-conservation [Accessed date: 11/08/2022].
- 68% Average Decline in Species Population Sizes Since 1970, Says New WWF Report/ World Wildlife Fund. [online]. (Last updated: September 09, 2020). Available at: https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/68-average-decline-in-species-population-sizes-since-1970-says-new-wwf-report [Accessed date: 11/08/2022].
- Urban wildlife – Wikipedia/ En.wikipedia.org. [online]. (Last updated: 3 August 2022). Available at: Urban wildlife – Wikipedia [Accessed date: 12/08/2022].
- Wildlife – Wikipedia/ En.wikipedia.org. [online]. (Last updated: 31 July 2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife#Interactions_with_humans [Accessed date: 12/08/2022].
- Caroline Isaksson & Petra Sumasgutner (2016). How rapid urbanisation is changing the profile of wildlife in cities/page. [online]. Available at: https://theconversation.com/how-rapid-urbanisation-is-changing-the-profile-of-wildlife-in-cities-58818 [Accessed date: 13/08/2022].
- Habitat fragmentation. treesforlife.org.uk. [online]. Available at: Habitat fragmentation and it’s effects | Trees for Life [Accessed date: 14/08/2022].
- List Of Top 10 Wildlife Sanctuaries in The World/ https://www.getthatright.com/. [online]. (Last updated: July 28, 2021). Available at: https://www.getthatright.com/top-10-wildlife-sanctuaries-world/ [Accessed date: 14/08/2022].