World’s Endangered Species Under Threat From Climate Change

 

Scientists around the world have been predicting dire consequences for our planet’s animal life if current global warming trends continue or worsen.  But are animals at risk right now?  A recent study estimates that 47% of threatened terrestrial mammals and 23.4% of threatened birds are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change.

 

 

In the study, the researchers identified the most significant risk factors currently impacting the threatened species of mammals and birds.  For mammals, their survival is closely tied to what’s happening to the plant life in their environment.  Higher temperatures and decreased rainfall harms plant life, which means a loss of both habitats and sources of food for the animals.

 

 

For birds, species that don’t migrate long distances have difficulty adapting to warmer temperatures in their habitats.  Another threat for birds is their tendency to lay their eggs earlier in the breeding season if the temperature is warm.  If chicks hatch too early in the spring, their feeding is impacted by lack of sufficient available food.

 

 

The mammals least likely to be harmed by climate change were found to be rodents and insect-eaters.  The mammals most seriously at risk are elephants, marsupials, and primates.  The most at risk birds are those that live in aquatic and forest environments.

 

 

The scientists note that while concern for the future is definitely needed, the plight of endangered species today shouldn’t be overlooked.  They recommend that more conservation efforts be focused on the “here and now”…before it’s too late.

 

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