A recent study says that the global expansion of hydroelectric power plants and the dams built on them is having a devastating effect on the populations of big cats, tiger and jaguar habitats, and can also significantly reduce the animal population.
a Communication biology in the magazine The study was published According to Asia, dam construction and hydropower construction affect one fifth of the world’s remaining tigers. Power stations built in some parts of China are directly linked to the extinction of tigers, and a similar fate is expected for the jaguar population of Brazil.
Although their numbers have increased in some places in recent years, tigers remain critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, with about 3,500 living predators. On the other hand, if we look at it for centuries, the situation is far from good,
In a hundred years, ninety percent of the tigers of this planet have disappeared.
The situation for the jaguar is absolutely bad, the number of predators in South America has been halved.
As more and more places look to use renewable energy, it is also spreading. hydroelectric power stationsBig cats’ chances of survival can deteriorate. The study authors identified more than 100 dams that would either violate the tiger’s natural environment or, depending on construction plans, disturb the tigers. According to his calculations, 13,000 square kilometers of forest areas were affected as a result of construction work or flooded after the dam was built. This affected one in five tigers, the researchers say, and habitat degradation has reduced populations, reducing animal populations by 20 percent at the sites where the dam and hydropower station were built.
The biggest problem is not the construction of the power plant itself, but the space and infrastructure needed to operate and service it. A good example is the Chanov Lan Lake in Thailand, where a hydroelectric power plant was built in the 1980s: 165 square kilometers of forest were flooded, dividing the adjacent green area into hundreds of smaller archipelagos. The original tigers have disappeared from the area. In addition to water, the methods used during construction and operation of the power plant increase the fragmentation of the cohesive area, which negatively affects the big cats, since animals accustomed to calm green areas cannot survive in patches of forest much longer. small and fragmented.
While this is indeed a problem for Asian tigers, this is not entirely the case for South American jaguars. The Brazilian government plans to build three hundred dams in the Amazon to increase the 25,000-square-foot forest in which the jaguar has lost its home due to continued construction. The planned dam construction is expected to quadruple the magnitude of habitat loss.
The question arises whether the benefits of investment outweigh the negative impact on nature. Neil Carter, Professor at the University of Michigan According to the study A word of caution that environmentalists should bear in mind when planning similar investments in the future. According to Carter, it is essential to increase the transparency of dam-building projects, including the publication of data on the ecological footprint and reservoir size and capacity, thus aiding in-depth investigations.
(Cover Photo: Tao Zhang/NoorPhoto/Getty Images)