Expanding cities can swallow biodiversity hotspots and other important protected natural areas. The resulting conflicts can prove fatal for both humans and wildlife.
Defining boundaries between human homes and wildlife habitats presents a serious challenge when conservation areas intertwine with cities, Charles Nilon, professor of urban wildlife management at the University of Missouri, told Discovery News. Nilon provided eight examples of places where parks and people cohabitate.
Sanjay Gandi National Park and Mumbai
Mumbai, India's most populous city, sprang up around Sanjay Gandhi National Park's 40 square miles (104 square kilometers). Many squatter settlements fringe the park. These communities often lack proper latrines and running water, so residents may go into the forest to relieve themselves. These trips into the forest can prove deadly. Between 1986 and 2010, leopards caused 92 deaths in the park and its outskirts, according to Mumbaikars for SGNP, a park supporters' organization.
Garbage-eating feral dogs also attract leopards into the settlements around the park, reported the Times of India. The dense population of dogs makes easy prey for the big cats, compared to the park's fleet-footed chital deer.