How Do Humans Influence Wildlife?

by OBDK on May 25, 2022

Predators and prey have their own relationship in the wild, but believe it or not, humans can actually interfere with those relationships. Human activity, such as taking over habitats or hunting down predators can influence what happens between animals in the food chain. 


Taking Over Habitats 

When we take over areas that were once habitats for wildlife, we leave them without natural spaces for themselves.1 Beyond that, we can have an effect in natural areas, too. For example, a study was done on how humans affect predator and prey populations. It found that while prey was more abundant on trails and other areas that humans frequented, predators were found in areas where humans didn’t go often. So without even realizing it, we can influence how certain animals behave.2 


Destroying Biodiversity

When predators and prey can fulfill their roles, they achieve a balance in their ecosystem. Mussels are a prime example of this – they’ll take over hard substrates and their presence will prevent other species, such as barnacles, from growing there. Starfish, however, will come in and feed on those mussels, which allows that space to be available for other species.3


When we go after predators, such as overfishing sharks, it has effects on the entire ecosystem. When sharks are overfished, sting rays then increase in population, which then means they’ll overfeed on scallops and in turn harm the fishing industry.3



When there aren’t many predators around, their prey species tend to increase in population. Pests in particular, such as rodents or mice, will often become a problem for humans because they can destroy crops or enter into homes. People may be tempted to deal with this problem by using pesticides. However, this can cause damage beyond controlling the pests. Other animals that aren’t the target can be exposed either to the pesticides directly or by eating the pests that have been poisoned.4


Learn more about wildlife on our blog! Check out one of our latest on what happens when animals hit their carrying capacity. Read now!  


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