Human Impact

Hunting and population decline

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1188-1189
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6432.1188-d

More than a quarter of the population decline seen among larger species of animals is caused by hunting.

PHOTO: VIKTOR DRACHEV/GETTY IMAGES

Human activities are driving population declines across species, but identifying actual sources of individual mortality from our activities is ch allenging. Hill et al. conducted a large meta-analysis based on radio-telemetry data for more than 120,000 individuals across 305 vertebrate species. They found that 28% of individual mortalities were caused directly by hunting, with larger species of birds and mammals most affected. Although most of the mortality was due to natural processes, that humans directly cause more than a quarter of the mortality for animals in the wild emphasizes the degree to which we affect natural systems.

Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 10.1111/geb.12881 (2019).

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