Knowledge - RISC

Wild animals need living space

Created By RISC | 5 months ago

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We all need space, whether for privacy or security. So do other creatures – and, especially, wild animals.

Wildlife lives not only in the wild but also in cities, which are home to birds or snakes. Like us, they need living space.

Birds in cities, for example, need refuges from humans. House sparrows, magpies, woodpigeons, and blackbirds need a 12-to-20-meter distance to feel safe, according to a study conducted in Madrid, Spain. Foliage can reduce this distance by providing shelters that make birds feel secure. Birds and other animals benefit from green places with multi-tiered vegetation such as trees, shrubs, climbers, and herbaceous plants.

What about forest wildlife? What does it need?

Elephants, for example, are an indicators of tree cover, because they need a lot of space. They eat 150-170 kg each day and can browse for 16 hours. Asian elephants (Elephants maximus) in Thailand need over 150 square kilometers of living space, equivalent to nearly 21,000 football fields, about the size of Koh Kud in the Gulf of Thailand. We can assess habitat for smaller species if we use elephants as a measure for habitat size.

It's vital to provide a suitable area with enough food for city or forest wildlife to feel safe. We must also consider essential elements like species and plant structure, the ecosystem, climate, and terrain, all of which must be appropriate.

We shouldn’t encroach on the territory of animals, whether on purpose or unintentionally, because we don't like it when someone violates our space.

Story by Thanawat Jinjaruk, Senior Researcher, Environment Division, RISC


Esteban Fernández-Juricic and Jimenez M.D. 2001. Alert distance as an alternative measure of bird tolerance to human disturbance: Implications for park design. Environmental Conservation 28 (3): 263–269.
Williams, A. C. 2002. Elephants (Elephas maximus), their habitats in Rajaji-Corbett National Parks. PhD thesis. Rajkot: Saurashtra University.
Elephants manual. Wildlife Research Division. Wildlife Conservation Office. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. 2014

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