Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c
Animal trapping, or trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food, the fur trade, pest control, wildlife management. Neolithic hunters, including the members of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture of Romania and Ukraine, used traps to capture their prey. An early mention in written form is a passage from the self-titled book by Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi describes Chinese methods used for trapping animals during the 4th century BC; the Zhuangzi reads, "The sleek-furred fox and the elegantly spotted leopard...can't seem to escape the disaster of nets and traps.” "Modern" steel jaw-traps were first described in western sources as early as the late 16th century. The first mention comes from Leonard Mascall's book on animal trapping, it reads, "a griping trappe made all of yrne, the lowest barre, the ring or hoope with two clickets." The mousetrap, with a strong spring device spring mounted on a wooden base, was first patented by William C. Hooker of Abingdon, Illinois, in 1894.
Native Americans trapped fur bearing animals with pits, dead falls, snares. Trapping was widespread in the early days of North American settlements, companies such as the Canadian fur brigade were established. In the 18th century blacksmiths manually built leghold traps, by the mid-19th century trap companies manufacturing traps and fur stretchers, became established; the monarchs and trading companies of Europe invested in voyages of exploration. The race was on to establish trading posts with the natives of North America, as trading posts could function as forts and legitimize territorial claims; the Hudson's Bay Company was one such business. They traded commodities such as rifles, knives, frying pans and blankets for furs from trappers and Native Americans. Trappers and mountain men were the first European men to cross the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains in search of fur, they traded with Native Americans from whom they learned trapping skills. Beaver was one of the main animals of interest to the trappers as the fur wore well in coats and hats.
Beaver hats became popular in the early 19th century but the fashion changed. Towards the end of the century beaver became locally extinct in others; the decline in key species of fur-bearers, due to over-harvesting, the emergence of the first regulatory laws marked the end of the heyday of unregulated trapping. Many trappers turned to buffalo hunting, serving as scouts for the army or leading wagon trains to the American west; the trails that trappers used to get through the mountains were used by settlers heading west. Trapping is carried out for a variety of reasons, it was for food and other animal products. Trapping has since been expanded to encompass "pest control", wildlife management, the pet trade, zoological specimens. In the early days of the colonization settlement of North America, the trading of furs was common between the Dutch and Native Americans, the French and Native Americans or English and the local Native Americans. Many locations where trading took place were referred to as trading posts.
Much trading occurred along the Hudson River area in the early 1600s. In some locations in the US and in many parts of southern and western Europe, trapping generates much controversy as it is seen as a contributing factor to declining populations in some species. One such example is the Canadian Lynx. In the 1970s and 1980s, the threat to lynx from trapping reached a new height when the price for hides rose to as much as $600 each. By the early 1990s, the Canada lynx was a clear candidate for Endangered Species Act protection. In response to the lynx’s plight, more than a dozen environmental groups petitioned FWS in 1991 to list lynx in the lower 48 states. Fish and Wildlife Services (FW regional offices and field biologists supported the petition, but FWS officials in the Washington, D. C. headquarters turned it down. In March 2000, the FWS listed the lynx as threatened in the lower 48. In recent years, the prices of fur pelts have declined so low, that some trappers are considering not to trap as the cost of trapping exceeds the return on the furs sold at the end of the season.
Beaver castors are used in many perfumes as a sticky substance. Trappers are paid by the government of Ontario to harvest the castor sacs of beavers and are paid from 10–40 dollars per dry pound when sold to the Northern Ontario Fur Trappers Association. In the early 1900s, muskrat glands were used in making perfume or women just crush the glands and rub them on their body. Trapping is used for pest control of beaver, raccoon, bobcat, Virginia opossum, squirrel, rat and mole in order to limit damage to households, food supplies, farming and property. Traps are used as a method of pest control as an alternative to pesticides. Spring traps which holds the animal are used — mousetraps for mice, or the larger rat traps for larger rodents like rats and squirrel. Specific traps are designed for inverterbrates such as spiders; some mousetraps can double as an insect or universal trap, like the glue traps which catch any small animal that walks upon them. Though it is common to state that trapping is an effective means of pest control, a counter-example is found in the work of Dr. Jon Way, a biologist in Massachusetts.
Dr Way reported that the death or disappearance of a territorial male coyote can lead to double litters, postulates a possible resultant increase in coyote density. Coexistence programs that take this scientific research into account are being pursued by groups such as the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animal
Fish are gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates. Included in this definition are the living hagfish and cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Tetrapods emerged within lobe-finned fishes, so cladistically they are fish as well. However, traditionally fish are rendered paraphyletic by excluding the tetrapods; because in this manner the term "fish" is defined negatively as a paraphyletic group, it is not considered a formal taxonomic grouping in systematic biology, unless it is used in the cladistic sense, including tetrapods. The traditional term pisces is considered a typological, but not a phylogenetic classification; the earliest organisms that can be classified as fish were soft-bodied chordates that first appeared during the Cambrian period. Although they lacked a true spine, they possessed notochords which allowed them to be more agile than their invertebrate counterparts. Fish would continue to evolve through the Paleozoic era.
Many fish of the Paleozoic developed external armor. The first fish with jaws appeared in the Silurian period, after which many became formidable marine predators rather than just the prey of arthropods. Most fish are ectothermic, allowing their body temperatures to vary as ambient temperatures change, though some of the large active swimmers like white shark and tuna can hold a higher core temperature. Fish can communicate in their underwater environments through the use of acoustic communication. Acoustic communication in fish involves the transmission of acoustic signals from one individual of a species to another; the production of sounds as a means of communication among fish is most used in the context of feeding, aggression or courtship behaviour. The sounds emitted by fish can vary depending on the stimulus involved, they can produce either stridulatory sounds by moving components of the skeletal system, or can produce non-stridulatory sounds by manipulating specialized organs such as the swimbladder.
Fish are abundant in most bodies of water. They can be found in nearly all aquatic environments, from high mountain streams to the abyssal and hadal depths of the deepest oceans, although no species has yet been documented in the deepest 25% of the ocean. With 33,600 described species, fish exhibit greater species diversity than any other group of vertebrates. Fish are an important resource for humans worldwide as food. Commercial and subsistence fishers hunt fish in wild fisheries or farm them in ponds or in cages in the ocean, they are caught by recreational fishers, kept as pets, raised by fishkeepers, exhibited in public aquaria. Fish have had a role in culture through the ages, serving as deities, religious symbols, as the subjects of art and movies. Fish do not represent a monophyletic group, therefore the "evolution of fish" is not studied as a single event. Early fish from the fossil record are represented by a group of small, armored fish known as ostracoderms. Jawless fish lineages are extinct.
An extant clade, the lampreys may approximate ancient pre-jawed fish. The first jaws are found in Placodermi fossils; the diversity of jawed vertebrates may indicate the evolutionary advantage of a jawed mouth. It is unclear if the advantage of a hinged jaw is greater biting force, improved respiration, or a combination of factors. Fish may have evolved from a creature similar to a coral-like sea squirt, whose larvae resemble primitive fish in important ways; the first ancestors of fish may have kept the larval form into adulthood, although the reverse is the case. Fish are a paraphyletic group: that is, any clade containing all fish contains the tetrapods, which are not fish. For this reason, groups such as the "Class Pisces" seen in older reference works are no longer used in formal classifications. Traditional classification divides fish into three extant classes, with extinct forms sometimes classified within the tree, sometimes as their own classes: Class Agnatha Subclass Cyclostomata Subclass Ostracodermi † Class Chondrichthyes Subclass Elasmobranchii Subclass Holocephali Class Placodermi † Class Acanthodii † Class Osteichthyes Subclass Actinopterygii Subclass Sarcopterygii The above scheme is the one most encountered in non-specialist and general works.
Many of the above groups are paraphyletic, in that they have given rise to successive groups: Agnathans are ancestral to Chondrichthyes, who again have given rise to Acanthodiians, the ancestors of Osteichthyes. With the arrival of phylogenetic nomenclature, the fishes has been split up into a more detailed scheme, with the following major groups: Class Myxini Class Pteraspidomorphi † Class Thelodonti † Class Anaspida † Class Petromyzontida or Hyperoartia Petromyzontidae Class Conodonta † Class Cephalaspidomorphi † Galeaspida † Pituriaspida † Osteostraci † Infraphylum Gnathostomata Class Placodermi † Class Chondrichthyes Class Acanthodii † Superclass Osteichthy
Deer are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk, the fallow deer, the chital. Female reindeer, male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family within the same order of even-toed ungulates; the musk deer of Asia and chevrotains of tropical African and Asian forests are separate families within the ruminant clade. They are no more related to deer than are other even-toed ungulates. Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, they have played a role in mythology and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry, their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains a resource for many families today.
Deer live in a variety of biomes. While associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets and prairie and savanna; the majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may benefit deer. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to thrive. Deer are distributed, with indigenous representatives in all continents except Antarctica and Australia, though Africa has only one native deer, the Barbary stag, a subspecies of red deer, confined to the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of the continent. However, fallow deer have been introduced to South Africa. Small species of brocket deer and pudús of Central and South America, muntjacs of Asia occupy dense forests and are less seen in open spaces, with the possible exception of the Indian muntjac.
There are several species of deer that are specialized, live exclusively in mountains, swamps, "wet" savannas, or riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in Eurasia. Examples include the caribou that live in Arctic tundra and taiga and moose that inhabit taiga and adjacent areas. Huemul deer of South America's Andes fill the ecological niches of the ibex and wild goat, with the fawns behaving more like goat kids; the highest concentration of large deer species in temperate North America lies in the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain regions between Alberta and British Columbia where all five North American deer species can be found. This region has several clusters of national parks including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, Kootenay National Park on the British Columbia side, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Glacier National Park on the Alberta and Montana sides. Mountain slope habitats vary from moist coniferous/mixed forested habitats to dry subalpine/pine forests with alpine meadows higher up.
The foothills and river valleys between the mountain ranges provide a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands. The rare woodland caribou have the most restricted range living at higher altitudes in the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas of some of the mountain ranges. Elk and mule deer both migrate between the alpine meadows and lower coniferous forests and tend to be most common in this region. Elk inhabit river valley bottomlands, which they share with White-tailed deer; the White-tailed deer have expanded their range within the foothills and river valley bottoms of the Canadian Rockies owing to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests allowing more deciduous vegetation to grow up the mountain slopes. They live in the aspen parklands north of Calgary and Edmonton, where they share habitat with the moose; the adjacent Great Plains grassland habitats are left to herds of elk, American bison, pronghorn antelope. The Eurasian Continent boasts the most species of deer in the world, with most species being found in Asia.
Europe, in comparison, has lower diversity in animal species. However, many national parks and protected reserves in Europe do have populations of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer; these species have long been associated with the continent of Europe, but inhabit Asia Minor, the Caucasus Mountains, Northwestern Iran. "European" fallow deer lived over much of Europe during the Ice Ages, but afterwards became restricted to the Anatolian Peninsula, in present-day Turkey. Present-day fallow deer populations in Europe are a result of historic man-made introductions of this species, first to the Mediterranean regions of Europe eventually to the rest of Europe, they were park animals that escaped and reestablished themselves in the wild. Europe's deer species shared their deciduous forest habitat with other herbivores, such as the extinct tarpan, extinct aurochs (fo
Game or quarry is any animal hunted for sport or for food, the meat of those animals. The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. Game or quarry is any animal hunted for sport; the term game arises in medieval hunting terminology by the late 13th century and is particular to English, the word derived from the generic Old English gamen "joy, sport, merriment". Quarry in the generic meaning is early modern, in the more specific sense "bird targeted in falconry" late 14th and 15th centuries as quirre "entrails of deer placed on the hide and given to the hunting-dogs as a reward", from Old French cuiriee "spoil, quarry", but influenced by corée "viscera, entrails". Wild game meat is considered to be superior in nutrient density, has lower fat content, than meat procured through contemporary farming methods, while the cost in time and money to procure wild game is much higher. Small game includes small animals, such as rabbits, geese or ducks. Large game includes animals like deer and bear.
Big game is a term sometimes used interchangeably with large game although in other contexts it refers to large African, mammals which are hunted for trophies. The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world; this is influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted views about what can or cannot be legitimately hunted. Sometimes a distinction is made between varieties and species of a particular animal, such as wild turkey and domestic turkey. Fish caught for sport are referred to as game fish; the flesh of the animal, when butchered for consumption is described as having a "gamey" flavour. This difference in taste can be attributed to the wild diet of the animal, which results in a lower fat content compared to domestic farm raised animals. In some countries, game is classified, including legal classification with respect to licences required, as either "small game" or "large game". A single small game licence may be subject to yearly bag limits.
Large game are subject to individual licensing where a separate licence is required for each individual animal taken. In some parts of Africa, wild animals hunted for their meat are called bushmeat. Animals hunted for bushmeat include, but are not limited to: Various species of antelope, including duikers Various species of primates like mandrills or gorillas Rodents like porcupines or cane ratsSome of these animals are endangered or otherwise protected, thus it is illegal to hunt them. In Africa, animals hunted for their pelts or ivory are sometimes referred to as the big game. See the legal definition of game in Swaziland. South Africa is a famous destination for game hunting, with its large biodiversity and therefore rather impressive variety of game species. Many creatures have returned to former areas from which they were once taken from as a result of being killed for big-game hunting. Species of creatures hunted include: South Africa has 62 species of gamebirds, including guineafowl, partridge, sandgrouse, geese, snipe and korhaan.
Some of these species are no longer hunted, of the 44 indigenous gamebirds that can be utilised in South Africa, only three, namely the yellow-throated sandgrouse, Delegorgue's pigeon and the African pygmy goose warrant special protection. Of the remaining 41 species, 24 have shown an increase in numbers and distribution range in the last 25 years or so; the status of 14 species appears unchanged, with insufficient information being available for the remaining three species. The gamebirds of South Africa where the population status in 2005 was secure or growing are listed below: In Australia, game includes: Game in New Zealand includes: Chamois Deer, multiple species Pig Tahr Duck, multiple species In the U. S. and Canada, white-tailed deer are the most hunted big game. Other game species include: In the PRC there is a special cuisine category called ye wei, which includes animals in the wild. In the UK game is defined in law by the Game Act 1831, it is illegal to shoot game at night. Other that are hunted for food in the UK are specified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
UK law defines game as including: Black grouse Red grouse Brown hare Ptarmigan Grey partridge and red-legged partridge Common pheasantDeer are not included in the definition, but similar controls provided to those in the Game Act apply to deer. Deer hunted in the UK are: Red deer Roe deer Fallow deer Sika deer Muntjac deer Chinese water deer and hybrids of these deerOther animals which are hunted in the UK include: Duck, including mallard, tufted duck, teal and pochard Goose, including greylag goose, Canada goose, pink-footed goose and in England and Wales white-fronted goose Woodpigeon Woodcock Snipe Rabbit Golden ploverCapercaillie are not hunted in the UK because of a recent decline in numbers and conservation projects towards their recovery; the ban is considered voluntary on private lands, few birds live away from RSPB or Forestry Commission land allegedly. In Iceland game includes: Reindeer Ptarmigan, a popular Christmas dish in Iceland Puffin Auk Goos
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the waterfowl family Anatidae which includes swans and geese. Ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the family Anatidae. Ducks are aquatic birds smaller than the swans and geese, may be found in both fresh water and sea water. Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes and coots; the word duck comes from Old English *dūce "diver", a derivative of the verb *dūcan "to duck, bend down low as if to get under something, or dive", because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending. This word replaced Old English ened/ænid "duck" to avoid confusion with other Old English words, like ende "end" with similar forms. Other Germanic languages still have similar words for "duck", for example, Dutch eend "duck", German Ente "duck" and Norwegian and "duck"; the word ened/ænid was inherited from Proto-Indo-European. A duckling is a young duck in downy plumage or baby duck, but in the food trade a young domestic duck which has just reached adult size and bulk and its meat is still tender, is sometimes labelled as a duckling.
A male duck is called a drake and the female is called a duck, or in ornithology a hen. The overall body plan of ducks is elongated and broad, the ducks are relatively long-necked, albeit not as long-necked as the geese and swans; the body shape of diving ducks varies somewhat from this in being more rounded. The bill is broad and contains serrated lamellae, which are well defined in the filter-feeding species. In the case of some fishing species the bill is long and serrated; the scaled legs are strong and well developed, set far back on the body, more so in the aquatic species. The wings are strong and are short and pointed, the flight of ducks requires fast continuous strokes, requiring in turn strong wing muscles. Three species of steamer duck are flightless, however. Many species of duck are temporarily flightless; this moult precedes migration. The drakes of northern species have extravagant plumage, but, moulted in summer to give a more female-like appearance, the "eclipse" plumage. Southern resident species show less sexual dimorphism, although there are exceptions like the paradise shelduck of New Zealand, both strikingly sexually dimorphic and where the female's plumage is brighter than that of the male.
The plumage of juvenile birds resembles that of the female. Over the course of evolution, female ducks have evolved to have a corkscrew shaped vagina to prevent rape. Ducks eat a variety of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, insects, small amphibians and small molluscs. Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as they can reach by up-ending without submerging. Along the edge of the beak, there is a comb-like structure called a pecten; this strains the water squirting from traps any food. The pecten is used to preen feathers and to hold slippery food items. Diving ducks and sea ducks forage deep underwater. To be able to submerge more the diving ducks are heavier than dabbling ducks, therefore have more difficulty taking off to fly. A few specialized species such as the mergansers are adapted to swallow large fish; the others have the characteristic wide flat beak adapted to dredging-type jobs such as pulling up waterweed, pulling worms and small molluscs out of mud, searching for insect larvae, bulk jobs such as dredging out, turning head first, swallowing a squirming frog.
To avoid injury when digging into sediment it has no cere, but the nostrils come out through hard horn. The Guardian published an article advising that ducks should not be fed with bread because it damages the health of the ducks and pollutes waterways. Ducks are monogamous, although these bonds last only a single year. Larger species and the more sedentary species tend to have pair-bonds that last numerous years. Most duck species breed once a year. Ducks tend to make a nest before breeding, after hatching, lead their ducklings to water. Mother ducks are caring and protective of their young, but may abandon some of their ducklings if they are physically stuck in an area they cannot get out of or are not prospering due to genetic defects or sickness brought about by hypothermia, starvation, or disease. Ducklings can be orphaned by inconsistent late hatching where a few eggs hatch after the mother has abandoned the nest and led her ducklings to water. Most domestic ducks neglect their eggs and ducklings, their eggs must be hatched under a broody hen or artificially.
Female mallard ducks make the classic "quack" sound while males make a similar but raspier sound, sometimes written as "breeeeze", but despite widespread misconceptions, most species of duck do not "quack". In general, ducks make a wide range of calls, ranging from whistles, cooing and grunts. For example, the scaup – which are diving ducks – make a noise like "scaup" (hence
Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, rain forests, plains and other areas including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities. Humans have tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways including the legal and moral sense; some animals, have adapted to suburban environments. This includes such animals as domesticated cats, dogs and gerbils; some religions declare certain animals to be sacred, in modern times concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest against the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment. The global wildlife population decreased by 52 percent between 1970 and 2014, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund.
Stone Age people and hunter-gatherers relied on both plants and animals, for their food. In fact, some species may have been hunted to extinction by early human hunters. Today, hunting and gathering wildlife is still a significant food source in some parts of the world. In other areas and non-commercial fishing are seen as a sport or recreation. Meat sourced from wildlife, not traditionally regarded as game is known as bush meat; the increasing demand for wildlife as a source of traditional food in East Asia is decimating populations of sharks, primates and other animals, which they believe have aphrodisiac properties. In November 2008 900 plucked and "oven-ready" owls and other protected wildlife species were confiscated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Malaysia, according to TRAFFIC; the animals were believed to be sold in wild meat restaurants. Most are listed in CITES which restricts such trade. A November 2008 report from biologist and author Sally Kneidel, PhD, documented numerous wildlife species for sale in informal markets along the Amazon River, including wild-caught marmosets sold for as little as $1.60.
Many Amazon species, including peccaries, turtles, turtle eggs, armadillos are sold as food. Others in these informal markets, such as monkeys and parrots, are destined for the pet trade smuggled into the United States. Still other Amazon species are popular ingredients in traditional medicines sold in local markets; the medicinal value of animal parts is based on superstition. Many animal species have spiritual significance in different cultures around the world, they and their products may be used as sacred objects in religious rituals. For example, eagles and their feathers have great cultural and spiritual value to Native Americans as religious objects. In Hinduism the cow is regarded sacred. Muslims conduct sacrifices on Eid al-Adha, to commemorate the sacrificial spirit of Ibrāhīm in love of God. Camels, sheep and cows may be offered as sacrifice during the three days of Eid. Many nations have established their tourism sector around their natural wildlife. South Africa has, for example, many opportunities for tourists to see the country's wildlife in its national parks, such as the Kruger Park.
In South India, the Periar Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary are situated around and in forests. India is home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries showing the diversity of its wildlife, much of its unique fauna, excels in the range. There are 89 national parks, 13 bio reserves and more than 400 wildlife sanctuaries across India which are the best places to go to see Bengal tigers, Asiatic lions, Indian elephants, Indian rhinoceroses and other wildlife which reflect the importance that the country places on nature and wildlife conservation; this subsection focuses on anthropogenic forms of wildlife destruction. The loss of animals from ecological communities is known as defaunation. Exploitation of wild populations has been a characteristic of modern man since our exodus from Africa 130,000 – 70,000 years ago; the rate of extinctions of entire species of plants and animals across the planet has been so high in the last few hundred years it is believed that we are in the sixth great extinction event on this planet.
Destruction of wildlife does not always lead to an extinction of the species in question, the dramatic loss of entire species across Earth dominates any review of wildlife destruction as extinction is the level of damage to a wild population from which there is no return. The four most general reasons that lead to destruction of wildlife include overkill, habitat destruction and fragmentation, impact of introduced species and chains of extinction. Overkill happens whenever hunting occurs at rates greater than the reproductive capacity of the population is being exploited; the effects of this are noticed much more in slow growing populations such as many larger species of fish. When a portion of a wild population is hunted, an increased availability of resources is experienced increasing growth and reproduction as density dependent inhibition is lowered. Hunting, fishing and so on, has lowered the competition between members of a population. However, if this hunting continues at rate greater than the rate at which new members of the population can reach breeding age and produ