About human shield effect
- In recent decades and centuries, increasing urbanization has led to ever more non-domesticated animals living in closer proximity to humans.
- Urban wildlife has adapted to traffic, noise and human lifestyles.
- In parallel with this kind of urbanization, however, there is also a drastic reduction of the number of predators for prey animals. The researched phenomenon is the human shield effect.
- Mesopredators, which include medium-sized carnivorous species, which include, coyotes or bobcats, tend to move into human-dominated areas to avoid predation by larger carnivores. This is known as human shield effect.
- Such safety-seeking species are at considerably greater risk for mortality due to human activities.
- Mesopredators are a group of animals that occupy the middle level in the food chain, between top predators and their prey. They are typically medium-sized carnivores that feed on smaller animals but are themselves preyed upon by larger predators.
- They play an important role in regulating the populations of their prey species and can have cascading effects on ecosystem dynamics.
- Mesopredators include foxes, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, etc.
- Mesopredators can come into conflict with humans, particularly in human-dominated landscapes.
Why in news?
- Fear of large predators drives mesopredators to human dominated areas.