A RECENT study by wildlife experts has established that human activities, once conducted outside protected areas, could possibly have an impact on tropical mammals living within the designated zones.
Conducted by the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka (CAWM Mweka), the study also aims to designate 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean ecosystems as protected areas by 2030.
Speaking here recently, CAWM-Mweka Principal Public Relations Officer, Ernest Emmanuel, said the groundbreaking study conducted by Dr Emanuel Martin will create a map that would reshape the biodiversity policy and conservation efforts worldwide, at a time when the world strives to achieve the thirty-by-thirty initiative.
“These protected areas are crucial in safeguarding biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” Mr Emmanuel explained.
According to the Mweka official, the study sheds light on the previously overlooked human influence on wildlife residing within the protected boundaries.
“It utilised the largest long-term camera-trap wildlife survey to date; it examined 159 mammal species across 16 protected areas in three biogeographic regions; it revealed how anthropogenic stressors, including human population density and habitat fragmentation, affect the wildlife within these areas,” he detailed.
To gather data for the study, millions of images were collected over several years from over 1,000 camera-trap sites; the research stations involved in this data collection initiative implemented a consistent data-collection protocol, thanks to a partnership between Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Smithsonian Institution.
The study also emphasised the importance of the collaborative effort.
The study further highlighted that specialist species, which occupy specific habitats exclusively, were more vulnerable to the negative impacts of human activities such as hunting, and land use compared to generalist species that can adapt to diverse habitats.
“Their specific response to anthropogenic stressors enables conservationists to prioritise their efforts and guide protected area management both locally and globally,” he added.