MANY SPECIES SHIFT AC­TIV­I­TIES TO NIGHT TO AVOID HU­MANS

National Post (Latest Edition) - - WORLD -

Lions, tigers and bears are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing night owls be­cause of us, a new study says. The lat­est re­search found even ac­tiv­i­ties like hik­ing and camp­ing can scare an­i­mals and drive them to be­come more ac­tive at night. “It sug­gests that an­i­mals might be play­ing it safe around peo­ple,” said Kait­lyn Gaynor, an ecol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, who led the study. Gaynor and her col­leagues an­a­lyzed 76 stud­ies in­volv­ing 62 species on six con­ti­nents. Re­searchers com­pared how much time those crea­tures spent ac­tive at night un­der dif­fer­ent types of hu­man dis­tur­bance such as hunt­ing, hik­ing and farm­ing. On average, the team found that hu­man pres­ence trig­gered an in­crease of about 20 per cent in night­time ac­tiv­ity, even in an­i­mals that aren’t night owls. Mar­lee Tucker, an ecol­o­gist at Goethe Uni­ver­sity Frank­furt in Ger­many who was not part of the re­search, said: “It’s a lit­tle bit scary. Even if peo­ple think that we’re not de­lib­er­ately try­ing to im­pact an­i­mals, we prob­a­bly are with­out know­ing it.”

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