DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA — A new study says large predators are moving into unexpected areas in order to recolonize former hunting grounds taken over by humans.
According to Duke University researchers in a press release, large predator sightings such as alligators on the beach, killer whales in rivers and mountain lions in open fields are a sign that local populations have rebounded thanks to conservation efforts.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, found that alligators and sea otters were actually re-colonizing ecosystems that had been prime hunting grounds before humans decimated their populations.
By collating data from other studies and government reports, Duke researchers found alligators, see otters, river otters, gray whales, gray wolves, mountain lions, orangutans and bald eagles populations were either as abundant or more abundant in "novel" habitats than in traditional ones.
Rebounding numbers have shown that several large predators once thought to be highly habitat specific, are actually quite adaptable.