Climate Change Impacts On Wildlife

bears

Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Species.com

Global awareness of climate change is obvious. The atmosphere is full of greenhouse gases, hurricanes and storms “attack” more regularly, sea level shifts proportionally to ice melting and more species are getting vulnerable and endangered. Specifically, animal world might experience severe damages in the nearest decades and polar bears, which have already recognized the most threatened because of the Arctic Meltdown, might be not the only victims of global warming process.

  1. Giant pandas are likely to remain without bamboo leaves and, therefore, main food ration. Regardless high speed of bamboo shoots’ growth, this plant species reproduces very slowly and is unlikely to adapt to climate change issues. According to scientific estimations, bamboo areas in Qin Mountains may disappear by the end of this century, so does one of the primary habitats of giant panda bears.
  2. Notwithstanding high speed of reproduction among bats’ species, these winged mammals might suffer from temperature cataclysms, especially in Europe and North America. Warm weather and possible drought lead to evaporation from bats’ wings, which are the only mean to accept moisture for bats. These animals are major agents of fertilization and extinction of some bat species is a potential reason of plants’ reproduction decline. Climate change, in addition, threatens to bats’ dormancy periods and meal search.
  3. Ice melting is an obvious consequence of temperature increase, and walrus species can hereby confirm this. Absence of ice blocks in the Sea of Okhotsk forces these marine animals to come to Alaska shores, in unaccustomed time period for offspring fostering. Previously deserted coasts of Alaska are a shelter for 20 thousand walruses for the fourth year in a row, which come here along with their children. Hence, rapid and wide-scaled meltdown has affected not only Arctic terrestrial species, as it could seem earlier.
  4. It is a fact of common knowledge that animals possess some adherence to biological clocks, which is why they know when it is the period of reproduction, vegetation, dormancy, etc. It is much influenced by the length of photoperiod and, eventually, the local temperature. Climate change might force wildlife and plant species to reload the biological hours in order to adapt to temperature shifts in their habitat. Especially, it is referred to animals dependent on daytime and sunlight, which comprise the most of animal species.
  5. Biological diversity and environmental changes are straight consequences of climate change. According to scientific forecasts, the variety of animal and plant species might decrease on 30-40% that will clearly affect food and metabolism chains and energy exchange. Ice melting in the Arctic is a top issue at present, but what about mountainous areas, reduction of forest zones and shores’ flooding? These natural alterations also lead to animals’ extinction and destruction of their common habitat.

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