News Stories

A Different Kind of Pollution

Noise pollution from vehicles, oil and gas fields and urban sprawl is becoming a major threat to wildlife. In Canada, traffic noise is causing the number of frog species to decline. In Africa, the numbers and different species of primates is falling if the animals live near roads. In The Netherlands, 60% of bird species avoid roads. In response to urban noise, some birds have to sing at higher frequencies, so they are better able to hear each other.

But not all animals are able to adapt. Female grey tree frogs that are exposed to the sounds of passing traffic take longer to find males. We need to become conscious of the fact that noise pollution also effects the ability of owls and bats to find and hunt their prey. Both species are unable to change their calling habitats to overcome the din from the roads, potentially compromising their ability to reproduce.

In BBC News, Matt Walker quotes researcher Jesse Barber as saying, "Many animal species evolved hearing sensitive enough to take advantage of the quietest conditions; their hearing is increasingly compromised by noise."

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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