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Animals in nature


Natural disasters are one source of animal harm that wild animals are particularly vulnerable to. Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and natural forest fires can have devastating consequences. Even when it would be possible to help them, most animals affected by natural disasters are left to die or to endure debilitating injuries that could have healed with... Read more


One of the main reasons animals die in the wild is lack of food and water. Moreover, during food shortages those who don’t starve to death suffer from malnourishment and hunger, as well as thirst.1 However, it would be perfectly feasible to help many of these animals.   Animals suffering from hunger Many people install wild animal feeders simply because they like... Read more


There are many different diseases which affect non-human animals, and the harm they cause is just as diverse. As we all know, diseases can be very painful. In fact, we often fail to realise that it may be possible to vaccinate or treat animals that are slowly killed by disease and avoid the harm caused to them. This is explained in our page Vaccinating and healing sick and injured... Read more


Many people have a romanticized view of wild animals; they think wild animals are like Spartan warriors who do not feel pain, or, at least, do not feel it to the extent that humans and domesticated animals do. This is simply untrue. All the reasons to believe that humans are conscious also apply to animals. This happens in the case of wild animals just as it happens in the case... Read more

Elk calf trying to walk in deep snow

Weather is a major factor in determining whether animals can live and thrive in certain areas. Temperatures, in particular, dictate which animals can live in which regions. If temperatures are too low or too high, habitation by animals of certain species may prove to be impossible. Temperatures that are within the perfect range for some animals can prove deadly for others. In fact,... Read more


Stress is commonly defined as a physiological response to a stimulus (a stressor) perceived by an individual as threatening or harmful, usually “produced by excessive environmental or psychological pressures”.1 It causes the buildup of adrenalin and cortisol hormones which leads to an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure and to a suppression of the immune system, among... Read more


In nature, the ecosystemic relations in which an organism causes a harm to another one for his or her own benefit are called antagonistic ones. The main example of antagonistic relations are those in which one organism nourishes by harming another one, in particular by eating it. The two main instances of these relations are parasitism and predation.   Parasitism The term... Read more


Population dynamics is the name for the discipline that studies how populations of living beings vary through time. Why is this relevant when assessing how nonhuman animals fare in nature? It’s because death is often, if not in most cases, linked to terrible experiences (such as fear or anxiety) and is often very painful. Population dynamics can tell us how many animals on... Read more

Two lions attack African Buffalo in a body of water or pond.

Wild animals are vulnerable to an enormous variety of threats in nature. The threat of physical injury is one of the most common. Nonhuman animals are often injured, sometimes resulting in death. The actual wounds may kill the animals, or their injuries may cripple them in ways that are fatal, such as certain types of mutilations. In other cases, even though they survive, their... Read more


As explained in our section on the general reasons for wild animal suffering, animal populations will grow as much as they can until limiting factors put a stop to their growth. Generally, most of the decline in growth comes not from fewer animals being born, but from more animals dying. One of the most important factors limiting the growth of animal populations is the... Read more


One of the main reasons the majority of nonhuman animals may experience more suffering than wellbeing in nature has to do with the fact that many more animals are born than can survive. This has not merely happened to be the case by chance. There are reasons for high mortality rates that are deeply rooted in the very way evolutionary processes occur. Ecology and natural history... Read more


There are many ways we can help animals living in the wild and save them from the harms that they face in nature. In the long term, the only way they will eventually get the help they need is by us raising awareness of the plight of wild animals and the discrimination they suffer. But there are helpful things that can be done for them in the short term, too. Some people may want... Read more


There are a number of things we can do in a direct way to reduce the harms that animals undergo in the wild. There would be ways to give them even greater assistance if we had more knowledge and means. For this to be possible, the most important thing is for our societies to care about helping animals in the wild. It is possible that if societies never see helping wild animals... Read more


Animals often suffer accidents in the wild. For instance, they may become trapped and face painful, lingering deaths. In many cases, it can be relatively easy to rescue them. Deers and elks, for example, can get trapped in ice lakes. Unable to free themselves, they may suffer horrendously until they die due to hypothermia, shock, organ failure, exhaustion, drowning, starvation,... Read more


Animals in the wild sometimes lose one or both parents. In such a situation, it’s often unlikely that they will survive. Most will starve to death. The small number of orphans who survive may undergo terrible hardships. Due to evolutionary reasons, most young animals die shortly after coming into existence. It’s very difficult for very young animals to survive. Most of the... Read more


Many animals die in natural disasters and fires. Often it would be possible to save many of them if humans chose to. Until recently, nonhuman animals have been disregarded in rescue plans for natural disasters, but this is now starting to change. As concern for animals grows in society, there is more social pressure for them to be cared for in these situations. As a result, there... Read more


Diseases and injuries are another source of misery for nonhuman animals living in the wild. But, fortunately, this is one of the fields in which we currently know of significant ways to help them. Diseases in nature explains this in some detail. Many environmentalists hold the opinion that wild animals should not be helped because it is not “natural” or because we shouldn’t... Read more

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