Frequent armed warfare in many of Africa’s nature reserves has contributed to the decline of some of the continent’s iconic beasts. To understand the overall effect of warfare on wildlife, Joshua Daskin and Robert Pringle at Princeton University analysed data collected between 1946 and 2010 on more than 250 populations of large herbivorous mammals in Africa. The researchers found that conflict is the most important driver of population trends: as the number of conflicts rose, population growth rates fell. Some populations exhibited slower growth, whereas others shrank. But few populations vanished entirely, suggesting that war-torn herds can recover.
Warfare and wildlife declines in Africa’s protected areas
Jan. 22, 2018