Zoology – Effect of Human Disturbance on Animals

AbstractMany ethnologists have been investigating how do different human disturbances affect the behavior of ungulates. So my group and I also studied or carried out an investigation on how varying levels of human disturbances affect the behavior of ungulates. Based on how we viewed the structure of the specific ungulates, we predicted that different human disturbances do not have an effect on the behavior of the ungulates. We carried out our in Golden Gate National Park, using binoculars and statoscope to view how many did what, pens, papers, and clipboard were used to record the results and stopwatch for time intervals.As we carried on observing and recording our results we found that as human disturbance changes, ungulates behavior also changed, the results do not support the hypothesis. The results show that there is a relationship between disturbance and behavior.Human disturbance such as noise can have an impact on the way animals may respond, which in this case we say that response is a behavior (Barber, Crooks, Fristrup et al.2010. We need both animals (wild or not) and plants to have a functional ecosystem, but a healthy ecosystem is needed in order for us to survive and get enough food to make a living (World Bank Group et al. 2014). With that said, it shows how important they are to an ecosystem. Vertebrates play many roles in the food web including, regulating the rates of vegetation2002). By this, it shows that humans—ć impact wildlife negatively as these animals see human as potential predators.My investigation is based on searching for the effects that different human activities have on ungulate, using no disturbance which is approaching the ungulate and doing nothing, a low disturbance which was waving at the ungulate, high disturbance which was making a lot of noise. My hypothesis is, different human disturbances will not have an effect on the behavior of wildlife.We used spotting scope to spot and to count numbers of individuals behaving differently and the total numbers of individuals. We also used binocular to verify or double-check the numbers. The other tool that we used was a stopwatch, we used it to have a correct 2 minutes intervals. Lastly, we used things like clipboards, pens, and sheets whereby we recorded our readings.Our research was done in March 2019 at a venture restaurant. Figure: 1 showing Golden Gate Highlands National Park on the map. Ventures restaurant is located in Golden Gate National Park which is in Free State Province in Clarence. The vegetation site is composed of mainly grasses and small shrubs, because it is a grassland biome. Lastly, it is known that tourist has a huge impact in behaviors of the species found there.How we designed our data collection was very simple and easy. We plotted tools that are mentioned above accordingly in order for us to evaluate if and how our activities (different disturbances) affected the ungulates and our main focus to avoid being too close to the two species. Each of our group members was assigned a temporary job which rotated amongst ourselves. One was holding binoculars while the other one was using a spotting scope. Another one was a stopwatch person while the other two recorded the readings and the rest of the group were the disturbers of the Wildebeest and Hartebeest. Our sheet had four types of animal behaviors namely, foraging, vigilance, moving others which we used as laying down. My colleagues and I chose to work with vigilance and foraging, due to the significant difference between the two behaviorsWe had two species with different total numbers. Wildebeest had a total that ranged from 10-17 individuals, proportionally 0-93.33%, while Hartebeest had a total that ranged from 7-12 individuals, proportionally 0-91.67%. Across the whole experiment, some individuals were foraging, some were vigilant, some were moving and some were laying down, all this in both species.At first in both species, when there was no disturbance they were less vigilance, and as time went by and the level of disturbance increases the vigilance also increased. There is no difference between these two species, the only differences include the total number of individuals and that Wildebeest were more mobile than Hartebeest.No disturbance (Foraging) 64-93% 42-100%No disturbance (Vigilance) 0-13% 0-17%High disturbance (Foraging) 0-33% 30-70%High disturbance (Vigilance) 17-80% 20-70%After the investigation, I realized how huge human disturbance is the different types of wildlife behaviors and that how we realized that this goes against my hypothesis, in other words, my hypothesis was not supported by this study. The reason why my hypothesis was not supported is because of the risk-disturbance hypothesis which states that human disturbances such as sound, presence, or objects will cause the animal to behave a certain way against the predator (Frid and Dill et al. 2002).The hypothesis of risk-disturbance tells a lot about how human activities impact wildlife in general. So, since the main focus was in two species of ungulate which are wildebeest and Hartebeest (Berger et al. 2003). As human activities increased there was a significant change in the behaviors of both Wildebeest and Hartebeest and Table: 3 justifies this.Researchers have to continue with their researches in order to inform or teach people how to behave in situations that involve humans and wildlife since these animals play an important role in the ecosystem. While tourists learn to provoke these animals.Introduction