(ORDO NEWS) — Some of Asia’s largest animals, including tigers and elephants, are defying “12,000-year extinction trends” by thriving alongside humans, a study led by the University of Queensland has found.
The researchers studied paleontological records to compare the historical distribution of Asia’s 14 largest animal species with their populations in present-day rainforests.
Biology PhD Zachary Amir said four species – tigers, Asian elephants, wild boars and leopards – have shown population growth in areas with human infrastructure.
“These results show that, under the right conditions, some large animals can live alongside humans and avoid extinction.”
These results refute the view of some scientists that humans and megafauna are incompatible. For example, worldwide there is a trend towards “trophic decline”, a term meaning the disproportionate loss of the largest animals in the world.
But in the case of tigers, elephants, wild boars and leopards, their Asian populations boast a large number of representatives close to people.
“This may be the result of a tougher fight against poaching in national parks that are closer to population centers and are more visited by tourists,” Amir said.
But despite some positive results, the authors noted that the study also noted a strong decline in the number of tapirs, Sumatran rhinos, sun bears and other large animals.
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