Devastating Impact of War On Wildlife Population

Humans have evolved into the most advanced animals on the earth as a result of evolution. Evolution's purpose is to allow animals to become more adaptable to their surroundings. A new level of evolutionary adaptation has been mainly ascribed by humans. Cities have been constructed, governments have been established, and vast technology has been invented. All of these advancements in human society are aimed at ensuring the human race's existence. Humans have figured out how to divide themselves into countries based on values, religions, geographical limits, and morals. Humans have disagreed throughout history due to variations in borders, ideals, and heritage. In extreme circumstances, these disparities have resulted in war.


Wars have been fought for a variety of causes, including religion and money. But, in the end, fighting ultimately leads to the same thing: destruction. The attention in the aftermath of a conflict is always on the loss of human life, property destruction, and the enormous financial load. However, there is a quiet battle victim: the environment. Environmental death and destruction, as well as the depletion of the Earth's natural resources and the extinction of its population, are nearly often disregarded. One has to consider how much the environment has paid as a result of modern conflict, and what the consequences are for humanity.


Both directly and indirectly, war has an impact on animals. Soldiers may exploit wild animals for bushmeat or sell their parts to raise funds for operations. Local poverty can be exacerbated by war, leading to people turning to poach and the bushmeat trade to survive. In order to evade discovery, a large number of people fleeing the country as refugees may have to travel through wildlife habitats.


Guns, landmines, and chemicals used in battles frequently kill animals unintentionally. Conservationists find it difficult to safeguard animals on the ground due to civil turmoil. War has the potential to decimate wildlife populations all across the world. Over the course of 50 years, more than 80% of wars coincided with biodiversity hotspots. Unfortunately, our earth is not becoming more peaceful. In reality, the number of wars has increased dramatically during the previous 50 years. As wars get more militarized and climate change continues to degrade our natural resources, the threat to wildlife may become more severe.


Adding to the complexity, conflict does not necessarily have negative consequences for wildlife. Some wildlife species thrive throughout wartime, in sharp contrast to the fierce battles that wreak havoc on countries.


Elephant populations grew at their fastest rate in 40 years during Zimbabwe's civil war, as poachers were kept away from elephant habitats within the conflict zone. And, as we previously observed, due to the lack of human interference, wildlife is currently prospering in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Although conflict is not always a threat to wildlife, the overall trend indicates that war is largely harmful to wildlife. Wildlife conservation during wartime is subtle and multi-faceted, just like war itself.


In Africa, the frequency of fighting was discovered to be the single most important predictor of large animal population trends, with populations dropping dramatically during times of war. The consequences of conflict aren't isolated to Africa. A total of 10 million landmines have been strewn across Afghanistan, posing a threat to the secretive snow leopard. Soldiers often hunt goats and sheep in the mountains for sustenance, limiting the snow leopard's prey options.


During the Vietnam War, the US targeted Asian elephants on a regular basis, believing that they were being used to deliver supplies for the resistance. Those wild creatures in war zones that have no way of escaping are perhaps the most vulnerable. During warfare, animals in zoos may be left to languish.


When the Syrian conflict erupted, wild animals at a theme park were caught in the crossfire. The zoo was located in rebel-controlled territory, and the animals began to perish as a result of sickness, famine, and bombs. Before the war, the zoo had an estimated 300 animals, but the population had shrunk to just thirteen. According to National Geographic, animal welfare organization Four Paws was successful in relocating the surviving animals out of the combat zone.


During the Iraq war, the situation deteriorated to the point where villagers began slaughtering zoo animals for sustenance. War has the power to have a devastating influence on the welfare and conservation of wildlife, whether in captivity or in the wild. The social and economic turmoil that can affect a country years after the fighting has ended is often the most devastating effect of war. Citizens may continue to be poor and rely on wildlife for food and money. Wildlife conservation is expected to be a low priority for governments as they attempt to reconstruct the country.


Despite their pervasiveness, conflicts have rarely resulted in outright population annihilation. Even Gorongosa National Park has recovered after losing nearly 95 % of its animals during Mozambique's civil conflict. By restricting the flow of weapons in a country and lowering people's reliance on wildlife for money, post-war initiatives to reduce civil unrest and poverty can also benefit wildlife. World peace is a noble goal, but it is unlikely to be achieved. Conservation groups will have to figure out how to reduce wildlife damage in a hostile environment.

 

Defne Ilgın Çinici