Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My: How Humans Destroy Animal Habitats


Human beings are supposed to coexist with the earth’s other inhabitants. As the most intelligent species, it’s our job to protect other animals around us. However, as we’ve recently seen in the case of P-22, humans often destroy animal habitats to the point where our wild neighbors have no place left to go.

As Angelenos mourn the death of P-22 (who was recently euthanized), one can’t help but wonder, could anything have been done differently? How do we prevent incidents like this the next time? How do we solve problems like animals invading our territory, and humans invading theirs?

Humans as the Invasive Species

Human beings are capable of doing terrible things but we’re also the ones who can make a positive difference on earth and the nature that surrounds us— this includes not only trees and plants but also the beautiful animals that live with us. There’s a possibility that humans and animals can coexist, but we should also make an effort to help animals have a sustainable environment for themselves.

We, humans, have colonized the entire world. Besides Antarctica, you can find human beings on every continent. We not only settled on practically earth’s entire land area, we can also find men and women sailing the seas and flying airplanes up on the horizon— we’ve conquered so many areas to the point of overpopulation. Unfortunately, there are negative consequences of this.

Here are a few.

Land

We’re not the only ones who need to have a place to call home. Other wildlife need their space on earth too. But since the human population keeps growing, more land needs to be settled in. These land areas humans choose to occupy are what other animals call home.

When we take over the land that’s meant for the animals, we tend to get territorial and call them the invasive ones even though it was theirs, to begin with. Humans destroy animal habitats and their inhabitants when we feel threatened and preyed on when it’s us who can sometimes be predators.

Food

Overpopulation makes humans resort to hunting for more food. As a result, there becomes an imbalance in the ecosystem. Some of the animals we hunt are other animals’ food, too. When we hunt excessive amounts of prey, their natural predators are left with almost none. For them to find food, these animals look for prey in territories that are already ours.

Nature

As omnivores, we’re predisposed to consuming vegetables. However, when we harvest too much of it and we don’t plant enough replacement to our yield, we leave herbivores hungry for fruits and greens; some of these herbivores are also predators’ food. When a prey runs out of food to eat, they either migrate or starve to death— and so do the animals above their food chain. Hence, why there are incidents where bears, tigers, and lions scavenge in human-populated areas.

The Importance of Protecting the Ecosystem

Whenever humans destroy animal habitats, it creates an imbalance in the ecosystem. Ending an animal’s life for non-food purposes means that’s one less food for an animal that naturally hunts those prey or predators. Excessive harvesting or chopping off too many trees also means there’s less food for the herbivores.

We all know the importance of plants and trees here on earth and we often discuss how we need those to survive— but it’s not just us humans who can benefit from these natural aids— wildlife animals, too, need them for food; these said animals are also food for the predators that occasionally end up in our neighborhoods.

If we value the importance of what nature has to offer and make a conscious effort to take care of it not just for us, and for the animals as well, we minimize the possibility of intimidating animals invading our enclave.

Summary

Because humans destroy animal habitats, it’s important that we give them their own comfortable dwelling. Creating a wildlife crossing inspired by P-22 on the 101 Freeway, Brenda Rees in Los Angeles is a beautiful way to honor the mountain lion, and to remind us that we share the world with majestic creatures we can help protect.

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