Wildlife lovers have always known it, and now the bulk of science is proving it.
A group of British researchers reviewed much of the available studies and have published their findings in Wildlife Research.
“With rates of urbanisation increasing globally, there is a pressing need to understand the type and nature of human-wildlife interactions within urban environments, to help manage, mitigate or even promote these interactions,” the authors wrote in their study. “Wildlife may contribute to the provision of ecosystem services in urban areas, and some recent work has shown how interactions with wildlife can provide a range of benefits to health and wellbeing.”
In an interview with Phys.org, co-author Dr. Carl Soulsbury noted that more research is necessary in this growing field, but existing evidence points to clear benefits.
“While promoting education about urban wildlife and its risks is important, the benefit wildlife brings to urban areas is often poorly communicated,” he said. “It includes benefits such as regulating and supporting the ecosystem, through to improving human health and wellbeing. We need to identify ways to maximise the benefits, in particular increasing the accessibility of natural green spaces and promoting interactions with wildlife as a form of nature-based therapy. It is only through such an integrative approach that we can advance our understanding of how to live successfully alongside wildlife in an increasingly urbanised world."
It is this type of scientific review and original research that truly shows co-existence is not only possible, but necessary in our modern society.
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