How Global Warming Affects Animals – Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. We have seen the effects in sea level rise, wildlife disasters and water scarcity. These changes will not only have a huge impact on various ecosystems, but also the wildlife that calls these places home. Here are 9 species that are affected by climate change.
If we don’t act on the current climate, this list is only the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect in the coming years. Future generations will not just see these animals in the history books – we owe it to them to protect these creatures and their habitats.
How Global Warming Affects Animals
Rising temperatures and increased parasite populations are expected to drive this cold-weather species, which calls the northern United States and Canada home, further north. That’s because milder winters and less snow lead to greater numbers of winter ticks. Tens of thousands of these parasites can converge on a moose to feed on its blood – weakening the animal’s immune system and often causing death, especially in calves. National Park Service photo.
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Salmon need cool, fast-moving streams and rivers to spawn. Changing currents and warming waters in the Pacific Northwest have affected several salmon species and populations. Higher temperatures are also causing harmful salmon parasites to invade Alaska’s Yukon River. So while salmon is on the menu today, climate change is expected to affect the commercial and recreational fishing industry in the coming years. Photo from Bureau of Land Management.
To hide from predators, these North American rabbits have evolved to turn white in winter to blend in with the snow. With climate change, snow melts in some areas more than ordinary rabbits, so white rabbits are exposed to snow-free landscapes. This increased vulnerability may cause a decline in the hare population, which may lead to implications for other species. Snowshoe hares are critical players in forest ecosystems. National Park Service photo.
Regarding the size and shape of the hamster, the American pika usually lives in high altitudes where cold, humid conditions prevail. Research by the US Geological Survey has found that the pika population has now disappeared from many areas from the Sierra Nevadas to the Rocky Mountains. Populations in some areas have migrated to higher ground to avoid potentially reduced snowpack and warmer summer temperatures. Unfortunately, others are very close to rock-talus habitats, which are limited and fragmented. This gives them some options as the temperature continues to rise. Photo by Jon LeVasseur (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Some populations of turtle species and their nesting sites are vulnerable to sea level rise, increased storm surges and temperature changes – all effects of climate change. These factors may result in current nesting and foraging areas that are unsuitable for federally threatened and endangered species of turtles – especially the loggerhead sea turtle. Photo by USGS.
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These colorful birds, which look like little penguins, are experiencing population declines in the United States and elsewhere. In the Gulf of Maine, puffins struggle to find their main food source white hook and herring. As the ocean warms, fish move to deeper water or further north, making it more difficult for puffins to eat and feed their chicks. Adult puffins compensate by feeding their young butterfish, but the young puffins cannot swallow these large fish and many die of starvation. Delayed breeding time, low birth rate and chick survival affect the reproductive ability of these birds. USFWS photo.
Caribou are always on the move – they usually travel long distances to find enough food. But as temperatures rise and wildfires get hotter and longer in Alaska, this will dramatically change caribou habitat and winter food sources. Ultimately, it affects hunter-gatherers who depend on caribou for nutritional, cultural and economic reasons. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank.
The piping plover is an iconic shorebird that breeds and nests along the Atlantic coast, Great Lakes, and Great Plains. Increased human use of their coastal habitats, including intensive coastal development, as well as sea level rise and storm surges associated with climate change threaten the species. USFWS photo.
The polar bear has become a symbol of climate change in many ways. In 2008, they were listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act – the first species to be listed due to expected population decline from the effects of climate change. The main reason for the decline: loss of sea ice habitat due to Arctic warming. Polar bears need sea ice to hunt seals – their primary food source – as well as to move their large canines which they need to find shelter. Polar bears are not alone in feeling the effects of shrinking sea ice. Walruses and other Arctic species face similar challenges as summer sea ice continues to retreat. National Park Service Photo The devastating effects of global warming on life on earth is an indisputable fact. Global warming affects us all. The effects on animals have a serious effect on the entire life cycle. Therefore, it is time for us humans to realize our responsibility to our planet and take steps to protect it from the negative effects of global warming.
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To better understand global warming, it is important to understand the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is an increase in temperature due to the absorption of heat and sunlight on the earth’s surface (forests, deserts, glaciers, etc.), which is then reflected back and trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases help warm the Earth, and they are the reason why life on Earth existed and still exists. However, by increasing gases such as carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxide, methane and water vapor in the atmosphere, as an explosion increases environmental pollution; industry, domestic and the loss of large grass and rain forest, the earth has become almost 14% warmer than it was 50 years ago. In addition to humans and plants, the effect of global warming on animals is a concern.
Animals are needed to maintain the circle of life and the food chain. Not only animals, but insects, reptiles, and aquatic animals are all interdependent, even plants and humans.
As global warming causes climate change, many large deserts such as the Sahara can no longer support animal populations. Habitat loss is most clearly seen in the Arctic, where global warming is melting glaciers, driving polar bears to extinction. Melting glaciers are causing sea levels to rise, threatening to submerge many tropical islands and forests teeming with wildlife.
Oil spills in the Gulf War, and oil tanker spills, destroyed much aquatic life. The image of dead fish covered in oil on many beaches is a sad reflection of the future that lies in store for them. Changes in weather patterns and shorelines affect the feeding patterns of most aquatic creatures.
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Grasslands are also affected by global warming. The consequences include; high evaporation rate, high temperature, frequent and severe drought, reduced rainfall, and low nitrogen content of forage grass. Low nitrogen concentrations in plants cause improper digestion in animals, resulting in decreased energy, performance and animal health.
Grasslands are very affected by global warming. The consequences include; high evaporation rate, high temperature, frequent and severe drought, reduced rainfall, and low nitrogen content of forage grass. Low nitrogen concentrations in plants cause improper digestion in animals, resulting in decreased energy, performance and animal health.
To make room for the growing population, many wastelands, grasslands and even deserts were created to be inhabited by people. Rain forests and grasslands support a variety of life forms; they house small insects as well as strong, grizzly bears. As forests are cut down to develop more land for housing, industry and agriculture, most of these animals have to adapt to living in shrinking habitats. Food, water, hunting and breeding grounds. The loss of habitat makes these animals vulnerable to hunting, in their own small space, or when they come to human settlements in search of food.
With the destruction of forests, many trees and other plants that provide food for herbivores are lost, causing death from starvation and malnutrition. This in turn harms all omnivores and carnivores, so all animal life is vulnerable to extinction. Many animals, domestic or wild, that venture into human habitations for food, eat from garbage, often collect plastic, rusty metal or contaminated food. This also has a detrimental effect on their health.
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Studies have shown changes in hibernation, breeding, and migration patterns of animals. This unhealthy pattern affects newborns, and many are now born with birth defects, or are still being born. Early egg laying is one of the reasons why insects such as butterflies and small birds
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