The expansion of human settlements coupled with climate change threatens wildlife habitats and transforms the relations between humans and animals.

A dead alligator lies beside the Transpantaneira park road in Brazil, September 14, 2020.
A dead alligator lies beside the Transpantaneira park road in Brazil, September 14, 2020. (AFP)

Ever-growing human expansion across the globe amidst climate change has brought far-reaching consequences, diminishing natural habitats and disrupting the delicate balance in the relationship between human and animals.

From Australia, Thailand to the US, we look at some of the most recent examples of complex human interaction with animals. 

Sri Lankan wildlife officials removing the carcass of a sea turtle washed ashore at Galle Face beach in Colombo.
Sri Lankan wildlife officials removing the carcass of a sea turtle washed ashore at Galle Face beach in Colombo. (AFP)

Dead turtles and dolphins on the shores of Sri Lanka

Dozens of turtles and dolphins washed up on Sri Lankan beaches due to chemical poisoning from a container ship that burned for almost two weeks off the country's coast. ,

The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl has been partially submerged off the island nation's coast since early June after an onboard blaze released tonnes of plastic raw materials that swamped local beaches.

"To see these images of dead turtles and dolphins is very distressing for our people," Environment Ministry Secretary Anil Jasinghe said. 

"The carcasses that washed up soon after the fire had clear signs of burns from the intense heat of the ship" the minister said. 

Australian farmer Col Tink and his grandson chasing mice from a wheat hold into a water-filled tub acting as a trap on his property in the New South Wales' agricultural hub of Dubbo.
Australian farmer Col Tink and his grandson chasing mice from a wheat hold into a water-filled tub acting as a trap on his property in the New South Wales' agricultural hub of Dubbo. (AFP)

Mice plague in Australia

After the end of a three-year drought, residents in eastern Australia are experiencing a massive plague of mice. They have seen their crops destroyed, grain silos and barns infested and homes invaded by the rodent that was first introduced to the country by European colonialists.

Skin-crawling videos of writhing rodent masses have been shared around the world along with reports of patients bitten in hospital, destroyed machinery and swarms running across roads en masse.

Mice even caused the evacuation of hundreds of inmates from jail after they gnawed through ceiling panels and wiring.

Australian experts warn that climate change could make such chronic infestations a regular occurence.

Wild Asian elephants lie on the ground and rest in Yunnan province, China.
Wild Asian elephants lie on the ground and rest in Yunnan province, China. (Reuters)

China's herd 

A herd of elephants that has wandered off its reserve in Yunnan province in China has made headlines around the world, with 3,500 people in their path evacuated from their homes and hundreds of trucks deployed to keep them away from densely populated areas.

State broadcaster CCTV has carried a 24-hour live feed of the migration which began late last year and which has so far cost farmers more than a million dollars in damage to crops.

The space available for China's last remaining native elephant community has gradually shrunk over the years, with the tropical forests replaced with banana, tea or rubber plantations, or used to plant lucrative raw materials for traditional Chinese medicine.

Kittichai Boodchan uses his mobile phone to film a video as an elephant searches for food in the kitchen of their home in Pa La-U, Hua Hin.
Kittichai Boodchan uses his mobile phone to film a video as an elephant searches for food in the kitchen of their home in Pa La-U, Hua Hin. (AFP)

The elephant in the room 

Some families living in a jungle may be fearful of things going bump at night, but for one household in Thailand, the sight of an elephant rummaging through their kitchen was not a total shock.

"It came to cook again," wrote Kittichai Boodchan sarcastically in a caption to a Facebook video he shot over the weekend of an elephant nosing its way into his kitchen.

Likely driven by the midnight munchies, the massive animal pokes its head into Kittichai's kitchen in the early hours of Sunday, using its trunk to find food.

Kittichai lives near a national park in western Thailand and this was not the first such visit. Last month the elephant knocked a hole through the wall, creating an opening reminiscent of a drive-through restaurant window.

The death sparked fury in Slovakia from hunters who claim that bear numbers have become too high because of a ban on hunting to save the species.
The death sparked fury in Slovakia from hunters who claim that bear numbers have become too high because of a ban on hunting to save the species. (Getty Images)

Conservation controversy in Slovakia 

A bear has killed a 57-year-old Slovak man in the capital Bratislava in an attack that sparked irate reactions that claim Slovakia has too many bears.

This was the first known case when an encounter with a bear had fatal consequences in the country.

The man was found mauled to death surrounded by fresh bear prints on Monday in Bansko Valley, 250 kilometres from Bratislava.

Imrich Suba, director-general of the Slovak Hunting Chamber, said that the incident was due to "an unsystematic, populist approach" to conservation.

"We have done everything to protect bears, now it is high time that people be protected," he said.

Bear hunting is currently banned in Slovakia. In the 1920s there were only 30 bears in Slovakia but the population of brown bears has now grown to more than 2,700.

A wolf in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
A wolf in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (AP)

Protecting wolves in the US

Wildlife advocates in the US have filed a legal petition in a bid to pressure the Biden administration to revive federal protections for grey wolves across the northwestern states after Republican lawmakers made it much easier to kill the predators.

Republican lawmakers pushed through legislation in recent weeks that would allow hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited numbers of wolves, using aggressive tactics such as shooting them from ATVs and helicopters and setting lethal snares that some consider inhumane.

Wolves in the region lost federal endangered protections in 2011 under an act of Congress after the species had rebounded from widespread extermination last century. Last March licensed hunters in Wisconsin killed 216 wolves in just sixty hours, nearly a fifth of the state's entire population.

Wildlife officials say the killings will tip the scales and drive down wolf numbers to unsustainable levels, while also threatening packs in nearby states that have interconnected populations.

Wolves were wiped out across most of the US by the 1930s under government-led poisoning and trapping campaigns.

But they were reintroduced from Canada into the northern US states in the 1990s and expanded over the past two decades into parts of Oregon, Washington and California.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies