When Nature Perseveres

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When Nature Perseveres

Nature is remarkable. It accomplishes things that seem quite impossible but never the less it succeeds when given the chance. Let’s take a moment to give Mother Nature some credit for her restorative powers.


Nature’s Ability to Recover

Throughout the ages, wildlife has had to cope with mankind developing and altering the environment for our benefit. We have shaped and moulded the landscapes, destroyed habitats and caused copious amounts of stress and challenges to the animals fighting to survive. But what happens when we remove ourselves? Here are five examples of Nature’s perseverance.

Pakuba Lodge, Uganda

Within Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda stands Pakuba Lodge the holiday home of Idi Amen, former president of Uganda. Multiple species suffered from his hunting habits, including elephants, lions, crocodiles and rhinos which became extinct in the area.

Pakuba-Lodge

Image credit: Dean Jacobs

For the first time camera traps were placed in the abandoned lodge and footage has now shown that the ruins have become a hotspot for wildlife. A multitude of species has been recorded lounging or foraging within its walls. These include warthogs, baboons, porcupines, lions, leopards and even the most endangered mammal, pangolins.

What surprises ecologists most is the harmony in which these animals seem to live in. Predators share space without any quarrels and prey species are rarely hunted within the grounds. Locals speculate that the wildlife lives in peace as a form of defiance to its previous owner, known for his violent ways.

Watch this video to see a leopard pass up a perfectly good meal and opt for a midnight walk instead.


Valle dei Mulini – Valley of Mills, Italy

Tucked into a chasm you can see a snippet of Sorrento’s industrial past. Ruins dating back to around the 10th century AD, while some of the latest were not abandoned until the early 20th century. Ranging from flour mills to saw mills, 25 buildings in total ensured that Sorrento was a business hub in the republic of Amalfi for centuries.

Valley-of-the-Mills

Image credit: Wikipedia user Mentnafunangann

But with increasing business the environment within the valley began to change due to more mills utilising water, the valley became more humid and eventually unbearable for workers. Mills were relocated and slowly the valley was abandoned of all human life. The humid micro-environment within the valley allowed for an entirely different range of species to thrive compared to the surrounding dry and sparse environment. Ferns, mosses and lichens reign supreme, supporting mass invertebrate populations which in turn provide food for birds and small mammals. The valley is now a small oasis and supports multiple ecosystems as they cover the stone buildings in a blanket of green.


Maya Bay, Thailand

Now it wouldn’t be right for us not to mention the wonderful news from a fellow Thai island, Koh Phi Phi. Maya Bay was made famous by the movie ‘The Beach’, as a result, the bay was overwhelmed by 5,000 tourists daily, and the coral reefs suffered for it. The once vibrant reefs were destroyed from countless anchors and tourists causing numerous species to disappear and search for a new home elsewhere. The Thai government decided to close the beach to all tourists in 2018 and provide the reef with a chance to recover. Only 6 months later, a group of journalists visited to report back any progress and they were stunned at the improvement.

“About 90 of them (sharks) are cruising back and forth along the shoreline. Many more are further away in the calm glass-like water of Maya Bay. Their presence would have been unimaginable only months ago when the area was packed with hundreds of tourist boats.”

Evidence of apex predators back in the reef is fantastic news for the bay’s ecosystem. This shows that the prey species populations are also recovering which in turn indicates a healthy coral abundance. Originally the bay was to be closed for just 4 months a year to allow recovery time, but with the success of a shark population becoming re-established in the bay, this has encouraged authorities to close the bay indefinitely.


Cabo Pulmo, Mexico

This small town has a rich history of fishermen. But with time the demand for fish grew and methods became more intensive rather than sustainable. Families were struggling to make a profit with the decreasing fish population, many were forced to relocate, abandoning their only known way of life.

The few families that remained came together to establish a Marine Protected Area in 1995 as a last resort to save the fish population. A study was conducted between 1999 and 2009, the results were better than anyone could have ever expected. A 463% increase in fish biomass was recorded, the Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego described the MPA as “the world’s most robust marine reserve in the world”.

https://youtu.be/Rk-qLXek7yQ

Establishing an MPA prevented all fishing within a “no-take” area, providing the ecosystem with a chance to recover and rebuild population size. Pelagic species could return to the reefs to breed, predators such as sharks and seals now had a source of food and balance could be restored to result in a healthy reef. Divers now travel from all across the globe to dive at Cabo Pulmos world-famous dive sites. A favourite phenomenon experienced here is the Jack tornado, definitely something on every diver’s bucket list.


Chernobyl, Ukraine

The Chernobyl disaster in April 1986 has been described as arguably the world’s worst nuclear accident. After the town was cleared all that remained were family pets, livestock and small populations of wildlife. Ecologists were convinced that animals would not survive the level of harmful radiation in the environment. Studies were conducted to record the impact of the disaster and results showed that for the first six months, wildlife suffered as expected. But 34 years later, nature has reclaimed the abandoned exclusion zone and became a haven for countless species. In 2014 the first-ever remote-camera scent-station survey was conducted within the zone, showing a booming population of mammals such as raccoon dogs, Eurasian boars, red foxes and wolves.

Bird-on-radiation-warning-sign

Image Credit: Vasily Fedosenko

The success of these species as well of large herbivores such as bison and moose led conservationists to release a herd of endangered Przewalski horses into the area. The herd has thrived and now wildlife enthusiasts come from all over the world to see the animals that survived against all the odds.


These examples truly show natures abilities to recover when given the chance. Do you know any other success stories? Let us know in the comments!

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