Wild mammals and urbanities

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Investigating human perceptions of
urban wildlife for urban planning and biodiversity conversation

Animals in human settlements have been present since time as humans needed them for food, wool production and field work. However, there are also animals that have followed humans into settlements without being wanted: Rapid urban growth and increasing land grabbing by traffic and agriculture have reduced the natural habitats for a large number of animals, so that they increasingly settle in urban areas, where they benefit from food waste and lack of hunting (e.g. as urban regions are increasingly becoming the habitat of wild and also endangered animal species, cities have a responsibility to protect those.

But the presence of wild animals in urban areas is causing controversy: On the one hand, some animals create spaces of fear and restrictions for humans, e.g., torn up gardens, devastated attics, risk of injury, and on the other hand, their presence has the potential to improve the human-nature relationship ( and stewardship for biodiversity conservation. The integration of wild animals requires unified management plans and acceptance by inhabitants. This requires improved cooperation between scientific disciplines.

Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach is pursued in my PhD to better understand human-wildlife interactions and to take them into account in urban and green space planning and conservation efoorts. By combining socio-scientific and ecological data, the aim is to typify supportive instruments for conflict avoidance.

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