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8 Land Animals Affected By Global Warming, According to Scientists

Image: 8 Land Animals Affected By Global Warming, According to Scientists
(L-R) Polar bear, Pika, Raptor, Black rhinoceros, top row and Black-faced impala, Grey-headed robin, Lumholtzs tree kangaroo, Hawksbill turtle, bottom row. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 11:21 AM

Scientists say animals are being affected by global warming as climate change, which has occurred naturally throughout history, has accelerated over the past century through increased CO2 emissions.

If an animal can't respond to climate changes by migration or adaptation, extinction is the logical progression.

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Here are some at-risk land mammals:

Polar bear: Because of its home in the Arctic Circle, the polar bear is often depicted as the animal most in affected by climate change. The reduction in sea ice and fewer ringed seals — the bears' primary prey — are contributing factors. Less sea ice lowers the number of seals, and makes hunting harder and more time consuming, reducing time for reproduction, says the New England Aquarium. Higher temperatures lead to more open water, and force polar bears to swim further for stable patches.

As a result, the U.S. Geological Service report in 2007 estimated that the current population would of about 22,000 would shrink by two-thirds by 2050. Polar bears have been listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2008.

Pika: The American pika is a small relative of the rabbit found in cold mountaintops across the western United States. Exposure to high temperatures can cause them to overheat and die within a few hours. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the pika population has dwindled from more than one-third of their previously known habitats in Oregon and Nevada between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains, and they are being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Raptor: The warmer climates have affected the migration patterns of several species of raptor, according to Science Daily. The birds appear to be spending their winters more north by about four to five miles each year. Conducted over a 20-year period, the research by Boise State University biologists was intended to examine how raptors are possibly responding to regional climate change.

Of the species listed, the rough-legged hawk stood out, shifting their winter homes about 185 miles north since 1975. Others who were found to have migrated were American kestrels, golden eagles, Northern harriers, prairie falcons, and red-tailed hawks.

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Black rhinoceros: Already an endangered species, the black rhinoceros lives at Etosha National Park in northern Namibia, Africa. Climate change threatens bio-diversity in the park and all over the continent. Critically endangered since 2001, the black rhino is helped by being at Etosha, where conservation laws have essentially ended poaching.

Black-faced impala: The species isn't endangered, but this subspecies has barely staved off extinction. About 300 of them were brought to Etosha National Park from 1968-71, and the population has gradually improved. Climate change is one of several factors that affect the region's biodiversity, as migratory mammals such as rhinos and elephants may not roam between critical dry-season and wet-season areas for grazing.

Grey-headed robin: In Australia, the grey-headed robin is one of a number of at-risk creatures. Restricted to rainforests of the wet tropics region, the species could disappear in a world that has received less rainfall and higher annual average temperatures, said the Australian Museum.

Lumholtzs tree kangaroo: These kangaroos are rare with limited range. They need cold, wet environments in high elevation rainforests to thrive, so predicted higher temperatures and less rainfall continues to threaten areas where they can live. Also, increased C02 levels reduce the nitrogen content of leaves, which make plants less nutritious for feeding.

Hawksbill turtle: The hawksbill is affected by more frequent storms that damage nesting sites. Also, high sea temperatures lower the available amount of coral and sea grass, which are their main sources of food.

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Scientists say animals are being affected by global warming as climate change, which has occurred naturally throughout history, has accelerated over the past century through increased CO2 emissions.
animals, affected, by, global warming, land
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2014-21-30
Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 11:21 AM
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