Endangered Species Are Being Affected by Climate Change
You may have heard about the plight of certain animals due to climate change – Polar bears, snakes and lizards all face an uncertain future if a solution isn’t found. The situation is so serious, in fact, that there is even a list of endangered species that are being affected by climate change. Of course, it is human beings who are hurting these species the most due to various factors including deforestation and pollution.
1. Why Are Endangered Species Being Affected?
2. Some Species Will Not Adapt Fast Enough
3. Animals Are Also Affected by Shifting Weather Patterns
4. Climate Change Can Impact Air and Water Quality
5. When An Animal Has to Travel Farther to Find Food
6. Many Endangered Species Live in Ocean Ecosystems
7. Animal Migration Patterns Are Changing
8. Global Warming Can Make a Species Extinct
Why Are Endangered Species Being Affected?
The recent climate changes are causing a greater number of species to become endangered. For example, polar bears face a declining food supply as global warming melts the ice from which they feed.
But there’s another factor that may be hurting our planet’s most precious, and it’s not human industry. The problem is that climate change is forcing animals to move their habitats.
The result is that some animals have been forced to migrate away from areas where they have thrived for millions of years, with dire consequences for the species and their dwindling numbers.
In the case of animals such as polar bears, global warming has made it more difficult for them to find enough food to survive. They’re also being pushed closer to the poles by rising temperatures, which are making the ice they live on melt more quickly.
That makes it hard for them to travel to new areas where there might be enough food and shelter. And means their populations are shrinking — something we’re seeing with the polar bear population in Canada.
Climate change is a major threat to the survival of many species, but it’s not all bad news. For one thing, some species will be able to adapt more easily to changing conditions.
In a warmer world, they can move to higher elevations or into cooler environments. Although climate change can cause major disruptions, some species may even thrive.
Some Species Will Not Adapt Fast Enough
When our climate warms, it changes weather patterns and has impacts across the globe. Some of these impacts are more dramatic than others, but one that is often overlooked is how climate change affects plants and animals, particularly endangered species.
As the world’s climate changes, so too do its ecosystems. As a result, many species have been forced to adapt to their changing habitats or they risk going extinct.
But not all species can adapt fast enough, and many are finding themselves in places they’re not suited for — with some pushed right out of their homes and into extinction.
While climate change poses risks to all species, those already on the brink of extinction face an even greater challenge. And some species may not be able to adapt quickly enough.
Rising temperatures are causing glaciers and sea ice to melt, and rainfall patterns to shift, upsetting the delicate balance of life in mountain regions, snow-covered arctic tundra, or tropical rainforests.
In some places, plants and animals are already responding by shifting their geographic ranges to cooler or wetter habitats.
And as the world continues to warm and natural habitats shrink, scientists say that climate change is now a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide.
Climate change will likely lead to the extinction of 1 out of every 6 species by the end of the century, according to a study by researchers at Oregon State University.
That’s because global warming threatens biodiversity in three main ways — by reducing habitat area or quality, creating barriers that prevent migration and altering interactions between species.
Animals Are Also Affected by Shifting Weather Patterns
Shifting weather patterns are affecting the migration habits of many animals, including birds and butterflies that rely on the timing of spring to find food and mates.
For instance, the periods of snowmelt in high-altitude areas like the Sierra Nevada mountains were once predictable events. As climate change has advanced, those periods have become less certain. So much so that scientists have seen it affect an important food source for migrating birds — caterpillars.
Not only are people affected by climate change, but animals are also too. Endangered species are being affected by climate change in ways that are causing an impact on their survival.
Some animals have already gone extinct, and others will likely follow if the pattern continues. Researchers believe that endangered species are not just being affected by deforestation, but also by climate change.
The climate is changing rapidly, and it is harder for endangered species to adapt to these changes as fast as they need to.
Deforestation is a contributor to global warming because trees absorb carbon dioxide, which then turns into oxygen that humans breathe.
Without trees, there would be more carbon dioxide in the air and with more carbon dioxide comes hotter earth.
The water temperature has risen, which means that the ice caps will melt faster than originally expected. If the ice caps were to melt completely, then the ocean would rise and flood cities all over the world.
Animals living in colder climates will begin to migrate south because that’s where it’s cooler, but this has caused issues with other animals who either can’t move or don’t want to.
Climate Change Can Impact Air and Water Quality
Climate change can change air and water quality, food and water supply, transportation, and human health. It can also change the natural habitat of animals and plants.
Climate change threatens many species with extinction. As climate zones shift and extreme weather events become more common, species are forced to move to new areas where they may not be able to survive.
Rising temperatures are making oceans more acidic. This is a problem for fish, shellfish, and coral reefs because it dissolves shells and damages coral skeletons.
Fluctuating temperatures create droughts that dry up wetlands and disrupt migration patterns for birds.
What Do You Do to Conserve Water?
Water is important to all of us. All we need is the knowledge and will to do what we can individually to help out with the water shortage. Simple things such as turning the tap off when we’re brushing our teeth. Even getting water-wise plants for our front yard and fixing leaky pipes. Maybe we all need a little reminder now and then to keep us on track.
Rising temperatures also cause animals to migrate earlier in the year. Species that reproduce at a certain time of year may have trouble finding food because flowers have bloomed early, or plants have been killed by an unexpected freeze.
Climate change’s effects on air quality can affect the health of many species, including plants, animals, and people. In regions with high ozone levels, climate change is expected to increase smog concentrations, which can harm the lungs of humans and other animals.
Higher temperatures and drought conditions can also worsen air pollution by increasing the concentration of gases and particles in the atmosphere.
These pollutants can upset the balance of ecosystems and threaten sensitive species by depleting oxygen levels in water or contributing to eutrophication.
When an Animal Has to Travel Farther to Find Food
When an animal has to travel farther to find food, it can encounter new predators or catch a disease that it has little experience with. Animals may also have to travel through more dangerous territory, just to find food.
It’s not clear whether climate change is the primary cause of declining populations in some species, but it’s certainly contributing to the problem.
As climate change continues, many species will be pushed out of their habitats and put at risk of extinction.
For example, birds are traveling northward as the Arctic warms and retreat up mountains as low lying areas become too hot. If they can’t keep pace with rising temperatures and changing habitats, they’ll face extinction.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to wildlife and nature today. Animals are forced to migrate farther and farther in search of food, water, or a new home to survive, but the rising temperatures can affect their chances of survival.
In recent years, climate change has been a major contributor to animal endangerment. All over the world, animals are being forced to move and adapt because of the warmer weather and changing climate.
Whether it is travelling long distances for food and water or looking for a new home because their habitat has changed. Animals are having a tough time surviving the effects of climate change.
As climate change continues to affect the environment, many species that thrive in warm weather may be driven out of their homes and into new territories where they’re unfamiliar with the local wildlife.
As a result, these animals could lose their ability to adapt and survive in their new environments. By protecting habitat loss from global warming, we can help animals remain safe in their
Many Endangered Species Live in Ocean Ecosystems
Some of the most critically endangered species are those that live in ocean ecosystems. In fact, overfishing has pushed many species in the ocean to the brink of extinction, including sharks, tuna and marlin.
Marine life is also vulnerable to rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification, which is caused by increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into seawater, forming carbonic acid. An increase in carbonic acid decreases the pH level of water, making it more acidic (and less alkaline).
As a result of the increase in carbonic acid, corals and other marine organisms struggle to support their calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.
A decrease in calcification rates can have devastating effects on marine life that rely on these structures for shelter or hunting food.
Ocean acidification also depletes oxygen levels in the water, creating “dead zones” where marine life can no longer thrive. This is largely due to algae blooms that occur when excess nutrients flow into waterways.
The algae grow rapidly — sometimes at rates up to 100 times faster than normal — and eventually die and decompose in water with low oxygen levels.
Climate change can also affect oceans and their inhabitants by increasing sea levels and changing weather.
Animal Migration Patterns Are Changing
Animal migration patterns are changing as a result of climate change, according to a new report. Scientists found that three-quarters of migrations tracked in the study have either slowed down or sped up over the last decade.
For animals to survive, they need to be able to move between two habitats: one for breeding and one for feeding. As the earth warms, those habitats are shifting, accelerating some migration patterns and slowing others down.
The arctic fox is one animal whose migration patterns have shifted to adapt to changes in its environment.
Normally, this type of fox migrates north during the summer months to hunt for food, but due to climate change and delayed freezing times on the tundra, they needed to make a change to survive. Now they migrate south instead.
Arctic sea ice acts like water on your driveway; when it freezes, snow stays on top of it, which allows caribou and other animals to travel across the tundra without sinking into mud or water beneath them.
But with less ice freezing because of global warming, that snow melts quickly and can leave these animals stranded on islands of dry land surrounded by mud!
Polar bears have been on everyone’s radar for a few years now. They depend on sea ice for their survival, but that ice is melting fast. Without it, polar bears will starve.
As the sea ice disappears, polar bears have to swim longer distances to find food or stay on land longer to find food there. When they stay on land, they have to hunt for other sources of food like birds’ eggs and berries, which doesn’t provide as much energy as their preferred food source: seals.
Also, when polar bears have to swim long distances or stay on land too long, they use up all their energy and can’t hunt properly when they hit the water again.
Some projections say that two-thirds of polar bears could be gone by 2050 if something isn’t done now to reduce climate change.
Global Warming Can Make a Species Extinct
Climate change is having a major effect on the world’s wildlife. Habitat loss, invasive species and pollution are among other major threats to animals, but climate change is now worsening all of these problems.
Researchers have gathered data showing that extinction rates will increase by 10% due to climate change and that at least 5% of species may be lost within the next century.
More than half of all species will face a “substantial reduction” in their habitat range while many more will be forced out of their normal seasons.
Global warming can make a species extinct in two ways. It causes changes in ecosystems that can cause entire populations of animals to die off, or it can leave them with no food or shelter needed to survive in their environment.
In the early 2000s, a female polar bear was spotted in Northern Alaska. She had never been seen before and was not part of any known population. The bear was likely a lone wanderer from Siberia, driven north by climate change.
Because the bear had travelled so far, there were no bears nearby to mate with. And because of her unique genetic profile, there was no way for her to have cubs with any other bears. She was a dead-end for her species.
The increase in global temperature also contributes to the spread of invasive species that push out native ones living in similar habitats.
The effects of climate change are already being seen as some endemic bird species have been forced out of their natural habitats in Hawaii due to global warming. The birds are unable to adapt to the changing environment, which has resulted in a population decline for several species.
In addition to birds, many other species are struggling because of the damaging effects of climate change on the world’s oceans and land areas. Some of these include whales, sharks, sea turtles and fish species.
So far, the list of species to have succumbed to the hazards that global warming has brought have included the polar bear, the giant panda and the lemur.
However, this is just the beginning as there are many more animals waiting to be brought to extinction. Therefore, we must try and combat global warming before it’s too late.
Climate change is affecting a growing number of endangered species, creating new and unprecedented threats that could impact their existence.