Climate change is a reality which cannot be ignored any longer. There are some species of animals which are more vulnerable than others to the changing climate. Warmer temperatures have made it difficult for some animal species to survive, and experts are predicting that they may become extinct in about 50 years or so. Take a look at these animals threatened by climate change which may be lost to us forever in a few years time.
12 Animals threatened by climate change
1. Staghorn Coral
This particular species of corals has been affected by global warming the most. Its populations have dwindled by almost 80% due to changing climate. It is on the critically endangered list and as Staghorn Coral is very vulnerable to bleaching due to rising sea temperatures, it is quite possible that this coral will be completely extinct in a few years.
2. Lemuroid Ringtail Possum
This endangered species is one of the animals threatened by climate change in Australia. This beautiful animal is now found only in the Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. How long they can survive here is the question, as these animals cannot withstand temperatures higher than 28 degree Celsius (82 degree F), or heat waves, the Lemuroid Ringtail Possum might soon disappear from the face of the earth.
3. Adélie Penguin
The adorable Adelie Penguins are found in Antarctica and it seems they are going to be extinct as a result of climate change. The numbers of the birds are decreasing day by day in the West Antarctic Peninsula, which are one of the areas on Earth warming up to a great degree. This has resulted in the Penguins’ nesting grounds becoming unsuitable for the survival of their chicks. They are finding it hard to find food as well, as the unusually high temperature of the ocean has made krill and fishes to adapt, and their numbers are decreasing too.
4. Ivory Gull
This is another endangered species which is facing the threat from climate change. The Canadian Gulls have not been able to adapt to rising temperatures and conservationists have found that their population has dropped by about 80%. Their habitat has shrunk rapidly and this has led to the birds dying out due to lack of food.
5. Pacific Bearded Seal
Another of the animals threatened by climate change is the Pacific Bearded Seal. It has been put on the endangered animal list of the US, though they have not been affected several right now. But scientists are predicting their numbers will dwindle in the coming years due to ice melting in the seas, causing loss of habitat.
6. The Koala Bear
The Koalas can melt your hearts with their expressive eyes. These bears which are so irresistibly cute are perhaps going to disappear in the coming century due to the phenomenon of global warming. It is one of the animals affected by global warming. Koalas’ diet consist of eucalyptus leaves only. But due to the increase in carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, the eucalyptus leaves are no longer as nutritious as they used to be. This has resulted in the Koalas starvation and malnutrition.
Due to frequent droughts as a consequence of global warming, as well as bush fires, millions of eucalyptus trees are destroyed. Animals like Koalas are also killed in the fires. The surviving ones are forced to come down from the trees to search for water and food, and run the risk of being killed by road traffic and predators.
The animals threatened by climate change are not just animals which thrive in specialized habitats, but also insects which are very important for the ecology, such as bees. Scientists have tied the deaths of bees to colder, longer winters as well as hot summers without rain. Bees are going to be extinct soon too, and there are at least seven Hawaiian bee species which are under threat of extinction.
8. Ringed Seals
The Ringed Seals live in the Arctic ice habitats which are melting fast due to climate change. They are some of the animals threatened by climate change, as the ice is everything for them – they give birth in the snow lairs, mate under sea ice and use the ice to rest on. Their food too is associated with sea ice. Thus, the ice melting is a definite threat to Ringed Seals which, like other sea animals are facing extinction.
9. Leatherback Sea Turtle
The Leatherback Turtles weigh around half tonnes, and is considered to be a giant among reptiles. Like other marine turtles, Leatherbacks have diminished due to polluted waters, poaching and bycatch. The latest threat to them is climate, as the extreme weather causes nests to be destroyed, thus decreasing the nesting habitat.
The temperature of the sand in the nests also determines the gender of the turtles. Warm eggs turn into females, and cooler eggs develop into male turtles. With increasing temperature, the gender ratio of the turtles have all the possibility of being skewed, with more females than males, which would also result in their population to decrease further.
10. Lungless Frog
Borneo’s Lungless Frog lives in the cold rivers and streams of Indonesia. This frog cannot thrive in warm water which also will have less oxygen. There might be more droughts as well as floods in the region, which might have an impact on the survival of the frog.
11. Monarch Butterfly
The beautiful butterflies are known all over the world for their amazingly beautiful migrations all across the North America in order to reach the Southern overwintering grounds. These butterflies are very sensitive to climate and weather, and the increasingly frequent extreme climatic events are threatening the future of the species. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed only and these plants are also becoming scarce.
12. American Pika
Another of the animals threatened by climate change, is the American Pika. This cousin of hares and rabbits, are going upslope to escape the warmer climate. In some places, they have disappeared completely. Pika species in Asia and Europe are also in facing extinction.
These are just a few of the animal species which are looking at a dire fate ahead. In about 50 years or so, the earth will lose a huge amount of flora and fauna due to human-induced climate change, if we are not able to bring down the global temperatures soon.