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Thousands of miles from these night-walking coyotes, tigers living in Nepal at the base of the Himalayas are making similar lifestyle decisions. To avoid contact with humans traversing their favorite forest trails, tigers are increasingly walking the same paths during the night instead, said Neil Carter, who researched this tiger population and co-authored the new study. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “The optimist in me is saying there’s a pathway for coexistence here in an otherwise challenging landscape,” said Dr. Carter, an assistant professor at Boise State University. “What we don’t know is how that might negatively affect tigers.” Future research might strive to show how these animals’ diets, reproductive patterns and mating behavior are being affected by humans, he said. Humans do not necessarily need to exhibit violent or blatantly destructive behavior to evoke this fear response in animals; often, our simple presence is enough, Ms. Gaynor said. Her own research in Mozambique showed that elephants that typically ate human-grown crops, like maize, were avoiding areas that humans inhabit during the day, but came out after sundown in full force. Ms. Gaynor said improving technology, such as infrared cameras that can capture vivid images of animals at night and GPS collars that track their whereabouts, have helped to document the trend toward nocturnal existence.
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