7 Animals Threatened by Climate Change
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We often discuss how climate change impacts human lives. What about animals? There are creatures all over the world suffering due to weather, pollution and deforestation. It’s crucial to tackle these issues so that every living being has the chance to live on Earth.
Here are seven animals threatened by climate change. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species categorizes many of these animals. You can check their status to see how conservation efforts protect them and others.
1. Mountain Gorillas
The majority of wild mountain gorillas live in a range of extinct volcanoes surrounding Congo, Uganda and Rwanda in Africa. Researchers identified this species in 1902 as a subset of the eastern gorilla. That’s an endangered species in and of itself. There are currently more than 1,000 living mountain gorillas.
They’ve been a target of human activity for over a century. A significant cause of their demise has been coal extraction. This is a common fossil fuel used for energy in the region. Its unsustainable production leads to the devastation of mountain gorilla habitats.
The good news is that the mountain gorilla population is growing due to conservation efforts from various organizations and parks.
Did you know that there are around 40 types of whales? From belugas to humpbacks, you can find whales throughout the world. Scientists consider this species as a whole to be endangered. In fact, only 90,000 whales could be living in our oceans today.
These underwater creatures come in all shapes and sizes. But what they have in common is a need for specific environmental conditions. The repercussions of climate change have caused sea temperatures to rise, so it’s inevitable that ocean wildlife will face dangers as a result. There’s also the issue of water pollution to consider.
3. Giant Pandas
The giant panda is the figurehead of animal conservation. These furry creatures have made substantial progress in recent years. There are now nearly 2,000 giant pandas in the wild, which has lessened their extinction risk to “vulnerable.”
That said, it’s still true that climate change impacts giant pandas. The main reason is habitat loss. This deforestation involves building structures that ultimately divide giant panda populations. It also destroys bamboo groves that these bears need to survive.
The bright side is that conservation efforts continue to increase the number of giant pandas in the world. They used to be one of the major animals affected by climate change. Fortunately, it’s cautiously looking better for these creatures.
4. Asian Elephants
The Asian elephant populates most of South Asia. For instance, you can find the largest populations of Asian elephants in the Eastern Himalayas and Greater Mekong regions. There are currently less than 50,000 of these gentle giants in the world.
Asian elephants face several issues perpetuated by climate change. Practices like farming, mining and building push these creatures away from their natural habitats. As a result, they must adapt to areas that can’t accommodate their needs. That prospect can be devestating.
You might not consider bumblebees to be as cute or noteworthy as other animals. That said, it’s crucial to consider the importance of these insects. If we didn’t have bumblebees, we couldn’t harvest our crops. In fact, they’re responsible for 35% of agricultural growth in the world.
The increasing temperatures and rainfall associated with climate change are wiping out bumblebee populations. It’s becoming harder for bumblebees to exist as normal. Other human-centric factors, including pesticide use, are also a problem.
6. Snow Leopards
The elusive snow leopard resides in some of the harshest environments in the world. It’s possible to find snow leopards in 12 countries throughout the Middle East and Asia. Their estimated population ranges from around 4,000 to 6,000 living in the wild.
This creature is one that needs to live in a particular environment. That’s why they’re called snow leopards! But climate change has caused irreversible damage to their habitats. Everything from rising temperatures to retreating glaciers continues to impact snow leopards.
7. Green Sea Turtles
It’s impossible to estimate the approximate number of green sea turtles left in the world. That said, we can look at historical patterns to determine that they’re endangered. They mostly live in tropical ocean environments, but you can find green sea turtles worldwide.
The biggest threat to green sea turtles is increasing temperatures. A key example of this concern is how levels in the sand determine the sex of hatchlings. We’re going to see more female green sea turtles than males as trends continue. These creatures are also vulnerable to water pollution and extreme weather.
These Are Only Some of the Animals Affected by Climate Change
There’s no denying that climate change is detrimental for everyone involved — including wildlife. If we don’t take immediate action, it won’t be long before animals affected by climate change experience even worse conditions than those listed here. By supporting conservation initiatives and living more sustainably, we can make a difference in species’ longevity.
About the author
Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.