Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Mammal responses to global changes in human activity vary by trophic group and landscape

Burton, A. Cole; Beirne, Christopher; Gayno, Kaitlyn M.; Sun, Catherine; Granados, Alys; Allen, Maximilian L.; Alston, Jesse M.; Alvarenga, Guilherme C.; Calderon, Francisco Samuel Alvarez; Amir, Zachary; Anhalt-Depies, Christine; Appel, Cara; Arroyo-Arce, Stephanny; Balme, Guy; Bar-Massada, Avi; Barcelos, Daniele; Barr, Evan; Barthelmess, Erika L.; Baruzzi, Carolina; Basak, Sayantani M.;
Show more authors


Wildlife must adapt to human presence to survive in the Anthropocene, so it is critical to understand species responses to humans in different contexts. We used camera trapping as a lens to view mammal responses to changes in human activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across 163 species sampled in 102 projects around the world, changes in the amount and timing of animal activity varied widely. Under higher human activity, mammals were less active in undeveloped areas but unexpectedly more active in developed areas while exhibiting greater nocturnality. Carnivores were most sensitive, showing the strongest decreases in activity and greatest increases in nocturnality. Wildlife managers must consider how habituation and uneven sensitivity across species may cause fundamental differences in human-wildlife interactions along gradients of human influence.Analysing camera-trap data of 163 mammal species before and after the onset of COVID-19 lockdowns, the authors show that responses to human activity are dependent on the degree to which the landscape is modified by humans, with carnivores being especially sensitive.

Published in

Nature ecology & evolution
2024, Volume: 8, number: 5, pages: 924-935