As human population continues to grow, wildlife habitat is increasingly under threat. In the past, conservationists addressed this problem by creating wildlife sanctuaries, islands of protection where animals could safely eat, sleep, and breed without encroachment by humans. But research over the past decade has revealed that for many large mammals, like jaguars in Central and South America, it's just as important to protect animal migration routes as it is to have preservation areas. That's because large animals rely upon migration routes to intermix gene pools and to repopulate areas decimated by natural disasters or disease.
In Costa Rica, where migration corridors are employed to protect the endangered jaguar, the development in wildlife routes isn't entirely prohibited. But any development must allow for animals to move through landscapes also populated by people.
In the face of population growth and climate change, this evolving perspective of wildlife conservation may be the only way to preserve the earth's diverse and interdependent web of life.
(Via New York Times)
Photo: Steve Winter/Panthera