Human Planet 
Copyright Kieran Doherty / BBC

Urban

Cities may come at the expense of other environments but that doesn’t necessarily mean that no other wildlife can survive here. From monkeys in Mumbai to bedbugs in Birmingham, many species thrive in the urban environment, especially when given a helping hand by local residents.


Photo from Human Planet
Trained falcons are used to chase pigeons from high rise hotels in Dubai.

Introduction

Human Planet 
Copyright Kieran Doherty / BBC Urban

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About Urban

By the middle of the 21st century, the total urban population of the developing world is expected to have more than doubled, increasing from 2.3 billion in 2005 to 5.3 billion in 2050. In the last two decades alone, the urban population of the developing world has grown by an average of 3 million people per week. More than half of us now live in cities.

Often considered the enemy of nature, these urban environments continue to flourish but do they really cut us off from the natural world?

Sadly, cramped conditions have forced people in some cities to live on whatever land they can find, whether it be a cemetery in Manila or a rubbish dump in Mombasa. Scavenging to survive amongst the rats and birds, these families are a peculiarly 21st-century version of hunter-gatherers.

In Indian cities such as Jaipur, mobs of monkeys attack people and steal their wares as they try to earn their daily crust. But there’s nothing the authorities can do since monkeys are considered sacred in the Hindu religion.

On the other side of the world, in Estes Park, Colorado, enormous stag elk come to town every autumn to breed and policemen on scooters have to chase the horny herds out of town.

Further south, in In New York, bee keeping has just been made legal and there are now 10 million kept bees in the Big Apple. With their incredibly propensity for pollination, the move is benefiting both the local environment and the human population at large. Maintaining this balance between the natural world and the urban jungle, may be key to our future as a species.

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