Scientists have been sounding progressively louder alarms about the repercussions of human expansion across the planet through intensive agriculture, deforestation and urbanisation, destroying wildlife habitats in the process.
These activities don’t just impact biodiversity, ecosystems and livelihoods. They could also help foster the growth of animals that carry diseases known to infect humans, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
“The way humans change landscapes across the world, from natural forest to farmland, for example, has consistent impacts on many wild animal species,” says first author Rory Gibb from University College London, UK.
“Our findings show that the animals that remain in more human dominated environments are those that are more likely to carry infectious diseases that can make people sick.”
The authors suggest animals more likely to survive in human-dominated landscapes may have biological or ecological traits that are related to greater zoonotic disease carrying capacity.