Africa's Largest Animals Decrease in Wartime
War can be deadly for wildlife, too. A new study reports that war is the biggest threat to Africa's elephants, rhinoceroses, and other animals.
Researchers examined how years of conflict in Africa have affected populations of large animals. More than 70 percent of Africa's protected wildlife areas have been within a war zone at some point in the last 70 years.
The more frequent the fighting, the greater the drop in animal populations, said Josh Daskin, an ecologist at Yale University. He was the lead author of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
"It takes very little conflict, as much as one conflict in about 20 years, for the average wildlife population to be declining," Daskin said.
Areas with frequent fighting — but not necessarily the bloodiest fighting— lose 35 percent of their large animal populations during each year of war, he said.
Some animals get killed by weapons of war. Yet, many also die because of changes in social and economic conditions in an area as a result of war, said Rob Pringle. He is an ecologist at Princeton University and the study's co-author.
People in and around war zones are poor and hungrier. So they may begin to illegally hunt animals for valuable tusks or hunt protected animals to eat, Pringle said. And during wartime, animal conservation programs do not have as much money or power to protect wildlife.
Most of the time, wildlife populations do survive. Researchers have found only six examples of entire animal populations being destroyed by war. A large group of giraffes in a Uganda park, for example, died out between 1983 and 1995 during two civil wars.
The new study examined the entire African continent over 65 years. The researchers looked at 10 different factors that could change population numbers. They included war, drought, animal size, protected areas and human population density.
The number of wars had the biggest effect on wildlife population. The intensity of the wars — measured in the number of human deaths — had the least effect on animals.
Greg Carr is head of a nonprofit group that works in and around Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. He said the study's findings are not surprising. He said Gorongosa's wildlife populations fell during the country's civil war. However, that was caused more by poverty than war, Carr said.
"With or without war, poverty is the threat to wildlife in Africa going forward," he said in an email to the Associated Press.
Gorongosa is an example of how bad war is for wildlife. But it is also an example of how quickly wildlife populations can recover, researchers say.
Mozambique's civil war ended in 1992. The war hurt its animal populations. Rebel and government soldiers hunted much of the wildlife in Gorongosa, Daskin said. Species came close to disappearing. But today, Daskin said, wildlife is back to 80 percent of pre-war levels.
"The effect of war on wildlife is bad," Pringle said. "But it's not apocalyptic."
I'm Susan Shand.
1.close to 靠近
I was close to tears with frustration, but I held back.
2.civil war 内战
The years of civil war have dehumanized all of us.
3.war zone 战争区域
As women were not permitted in the war zone, Eleanor would have to stay behind
4.as a result of 由于
As a result of this conflict he lost both his home and his means of livelihood.
5."With or without war, poverty is the threat to wildlife in Africa going forward," he said in an email to the Associated Press.
going forward 向前；进行
We'll keep going forward.
I could not see this project going forward without you.
6.More than 70 percent of Africa's protected wildlife areas have been within a war zone at some point in the last 70 years.
at some point 在某一时刻
We're all going to die at some point.
The emotions will surface at some point in life.
战争对野生动物也是致命的 。一份新研究报告指出，战争成为非洲大象、犀牛和其他动物最大的威胁 。
研究人员对非洲连年的冲突如何影响大型动物的数量进行了调查 。在过去70年的某一段时间内，超过70%的非洲保护动物都生活在战争区域 。
耶鲁大学生物学家乔希·达思肯表示，冲突越频繁，动物数量会越来越少 。他是这项研究的首席作者，周三该研究报告发表在《自然》杂志上 。
一些动物死于战争武器 。但是，战争导致社会和经济条件发生变化，很多动物因此死亡，罗伯·普林格尔说道 。他是普林斯顿大学的生态学家，也是该研究的合著者 。
战区周边的人穷困潦倒 。因此，他们开始非法猎杀动物，盗取珍贵的长牙或猎杀保护动物果腹 。战争期间，动物保护项目也没有足够的资金和力量去保护野生动物 。
大多数时候，野生动物得以存活 。研究人员发现，只有6种动物被战争完全摧毁 。例如，1983年到1995年的发生的两次内战中，乌干达一公园内的大型长颈鹿群惨遭灭绝 。
这项新研究调查了65年里整个非洲大陆的情况 。研究人员分析了10种可能改变动物数量的因素 。包括战争、干旱、动物体型、受保护区域以及人口密度 。
战争的频率对野生动物数量的影响是最严重的 。战争的惨烈程度（以死亡人数衡量）对动物的影响最小 。
格雷格·凯尔是一家非盈利组织的负责人 。该组织在莫桑比克戈龙戈萨国家公园内及周边工作 。他表示，这项研究的结果在意料之中 。他说，在该国内战期间，戈龙戈萨的野生动物数量有所下降 。然而，凯尔指出，贫穷比战争的影响力更大 。
研究人员指出，虽然戈龙戈萨是战争造成野生动物数量锐减的案例 。但它同样是野生动物数量快速恢复的案例 。
1992年，莫桑比克的内战结束 。战争造成动物数量锐减 。反对派及政府士兵猎杀了戈龙戈萨内大量的野生动物 。有的物种几近灭绝 。如今，达思肯表示，野生动物的数量已经恢复至战前的80% 。