Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Rats and pigeons 'replace iconic species'

By Helen Briggs BBC News
5 December 2018
The modification of land for farming and building cities is favouring the same species everywhere, according to a new study.
Animals like rats and pigeons are taking over from less common ones, which can survive only in certain habitats, say scientists.
Researchers looked at 20,000 animals and plants in 81 countries.
They found that species occupying a large area tend to increase in places where humans use the land.
However, fauna and flora that occupies a small area is lost.
"We show around the world that when humans modify habitats, these unique species are consistently lost and are replaced by species that are found everywhere, such as pigeons in cities and rats in farmland," said Dr Tim Newbold, a research fellow at University College London.
Rats, mice, sparrows and pigeons are examples of species with wide ranges that do well when natural habitats are replaced with farmland and cities, he said.
However, the "narrow-ranged losers" include animals and plants which may have great cultural value, such as rhinos and tigers.

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