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The Other Face of ecotourism: Wild Animals loses its natural wariness

Touch a piece of unadulterated nature and see with their own eyes the animals that are known only from scientific documents. Each year, this dream meet more people and ecotourism business because growing. As warn the authors of the study published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, the desire for contact with the wilderness has its downside.

Money generated from tourism to local indigenous communities have a positive impact on their lives and interests of exoticism milovných tourist flows and benefits to the animal itself. Sometimes you may not care much about the day-trippers contact with animals harm. But the problem that is focused researchers from the University of California, is more complex and much less visible than simple exploitation of nature. It refers to the fact changes the behavior of various animals to get used to the closeness photographers ecotourist. Over time simply too grown tame, he lost caution and timidity and their predators has become easily accessible dessert.

"Current data indicate that globally will visit a variety of bookings every year around eight billion visitors," says Daniel Blumstein, research manager. "It's as if every inhabitant of planet Earth at least once a year to some walked, some even twice." Ecotourism is therefore clearly on rise, but forces even with pause. "It's a massive number should be added to the list of significant factors impacting the environment," says Blumstein. "And managers reservation would be with him had to learn to work if their interest is to preserve, not the depletion of biodiversity . "What's the problem? Perhaps the fact that people are trying to get closer to nature?

According to researchers from the University of California, it is all about changing behavior ecotourism affected animals. When you get used to run away with every click of the camera or snorting and stomping tourists, then they become easy prey for predators true. Ecotourism and plays a similar role as domestication (tame) animals, which leads to the gradual habituation, getting used to new stimuli and loss of natural fear, which ends up full zkrotnutím. Examples? They're everywhere. Urban birds and squirrels are much bolder and bolder than their rural counterparts. It is similar with foxes, marten, and badger or fish reared in tanks.

But it does not stop there. Nature would have an animal that has lost the instinct of self-preservation, quickly advised. But ecotourist frequently visited sites discourage predators and predators. This creates areas where sometimes shy animals may behave quite irrationally and yet for this thing punishment in the form devoured. Descendants of these individuals will turn a little less wild. Blumstein and his colleagues provides a comprehensive listing of animal species in the reserves who act "unnaturally". Must pronghorn antelope and elk herds in the American Grand Teton National Park, where they spend most of their time grazing and even not raise his head to look around the wolves. Or green monkeys from Africa, who are already in the national parks resigned to security against leopards.

"We know that people are able to start rapid phenotypic changes in other species," says
Blumstein. "And if we get used selectively to certain types of human presence, can they develop the features initially unintended, for example, which results in an increased risk of predation."

Author: Radomír Dohnal

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