Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This monkey is almost invincible

The moment disaster strikes – a hurricane hits, or forest fires rage out of control – we hear about the human impact. News feeds and social media light up with statistics about the magnitude of the tragedy, the number of fatalities, how many homes have been lost and how many people displaced. This sort of focus on human life is perfectly understandable, of course. But what often gets overlooked is that natural disasters also have an impact on local wild animals – some of them already vulnerable to extinction. When their habitats are destroyed, how do animals fare? Monkeys and apes alike can periodically have their rainforest habitat uprooted and destroyed around them. Researchers working in these disaster-prone regions have the dubious advantage of being able to study how animals cope when their habitat is dramatically altered.
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