An international joint research team consisting of Shigeru Osugi (postdoctoral research student) at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the University of Illinois in the United States has found that the drastic decline in human activity caused by the global spread of the new coronavirus infection has and the behavior of Japanese badgers to eat fruit that fell from trees on the ground.

 Significant changes in human activities due to the corona crisis have had various impacts on wildlife around the world, such as an increase in wildlife sightings and a decrease in traffic accident deaths.However, due to the limited information available before the COVID-XNUMX pandemic, there were few reports on the impact of the decline in human activity on the behavior of wild animals due to the COVID-XNUMX pandemic.

 Therefore, the research group used an automatic camera to target raccoon dogs and Japanese badgers living in urban forests (Mitaka City, Tokyo) in 2020 during the corona crisis. We examined their behavior and compared it with their pre-coronavirus behavior (2019) to verify its impact.

 As a result, both species before the Covid-XNUMX pandemic ate ​​fruit almost exclusively at night, but during the Covid-XNUMX crisis, the opportunities for foraging during the day increased, and the time for each feeding was longer.In addition, before the Covid-XNUMX pandemic, both species selected trees whose roots were difficult to see from the surroundings due to thickets, etc., and foraged for fruits.Efficiency may have become more important than being undetectable to humans.

 From this, it was found that raccoon dogs and Japanese badgers living in urban forests respond sensitively to changes in human behavior.In the future, it is expected that there will be an increase in the number of areas where human activity will rapidly decline due to the declining birthrate and aging population in Japan.The results of this study provide important information for the management and conservation of wildlife in such areas.

Paper information:[Ecology and Evolution] The effect of decreasing human activity from COVID-19 on the foraging of fallen-fruit byomnivores

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