Korina B. – BASIS Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale Senior Korina B.

The Elephant in the Room: Human Impact on Animal Adaptation

Project/blog link: The Elephant in the Room: Human Impact on Animal Adaptation
BASIS Advisor: Ms. Kaitlyn Mandigo
Internship location: Liberty Wildlife
Onsite Mentor: Ms. Carol Suits, Volunteer Coordinator

Project Abstract

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Earth's population of wild vertebrates — all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish — declined 58 percent from 1970 to 2012 (Living Planet Report [LPR], 2016). This massive downtrend is mainly caused by habitat loss and degradation (LPR, 2016). As of 2016, the United States degree of urbanization has increased to 81.6%, taking away the habitat and resources of wildlife (Population Reference Bureau, 2016). Because of this, animals are forced to adapt their behavior in order to properly acclimate to city life and human presence. This project intends to determine how humans have impacted the behavior of species common to Arizona, whether this behavior is detrimental to the animals’ or humans’ safety, and how humans can lessen their influence on the ecosystem. By working with Liberty Wildlife, a rehabilitation center for injured or infant wild animals, it will be possible to study specific Arizonian species and how humans impact their environment. The data collected at Liberty Wildlife, ranging from naturalistic observation to old records of animals brought in, will show in what ways animals have changed their behavior and whether or not the change is detrimental to their safety in urban environments. Through these results, measures can be taken to reduce the pressure of adaptation in the Arizona species and increase safety in human-to-wildlife interaction.

The Elephant in the Room: Human Impact on Animal Adaptation