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An emerging climate threat to wildlife: changing human behaviour

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Changing temperatures and rainfall are changing how people in rural communities find water, where they graze livestock, and how they find food. These changes are having an impact on wildlife like elephants, snow leopards and mountain gorillas, says WWF’s Nikhil Advani in an interview with Accuweather.

Advani is part of the team behind WWF Climate Crowd, an initiative to crowdsource information on how rural communities are responding to changes in weather and climate, and how their responses are impacting biodiversity. Data from Climate Crowd is helping WWF design conservation strategies that take into account the complex interactions between people and wildlife in a changing climate.

Some findings so far:

  • As rainfall patterns change, humans and elephants are competing for diminishing sources of water.
  • Farmers are moving livestock further up mountain slopes to graze, increasing the risk of disease transmission and competition for the animals that snow leopards prey upon.
  • In mountain gorilla habitat, people venturing further into the forest to find water also set snares meant for other animals, endangering the gorillas instead.

See the data and submit your own observations at wwfclimatecrowd.org.

Nikhil Advani is Lead Specialist, Climate, Communities and Wildlife for WWF-US.

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