A new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals that more than a dozen animals are facing new risks related to global warming, including:
- Changing land and sea temperatures
- Shifting rain patterns
- Exposure to new pathogens and disease
- Increased threats from predators
“The image of a forlorn-looking polar bear on a tiny ice floe has become the public’s image of climate change in nature, but the impact reaches species in nearly every habitat in the world’s wild places,” says President and CEO Steven E. Sanderson, PhD. “In fact, our own researchers are observing direct impacts on a wide range of species across the world.”
The affected wildlife includes:
- Flamingos. Climate change reduces the availability and quality of wetland habitats in the Caribbean, South America, Asia and Africa.
- Irrawaddy dolphins. This coastal species relies on the flow of fresh water from estuaries in Bangladesh and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Changes in flow and salinity may have an impact on the species’ long-term survival.
- Hawksbill turtles. Higher temperatures result in more female hatchlings, which could impact the species’ long-term survival by skewing sex ratios.
“Aside from all of the current political disagreements on meteorological data, we can say with certainty that climate change is threatening our planet with significant losses to wildlife and wild places,” Dr. Sanderson says.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Saving Wildlife: A Century of Conservation