Wildlife Extinction


Global warming, scientists say, is responsible not only for shrinking ice caps but also for a surge in extreme weather that is causing heat waves, wildfires, and droughts, not to mention sea level rise.

Researchers agree that even small changes in temperature are enough to threaten hundreds of already struggling animals. Up to half of the animal and plant species in the world’s most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and Galapagos, could face extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change, according to a study published in the journal Climate Change. From polar bears in the Artic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate, even as that is not the only risk.

The key impact of global warming on wildlife is habitat disruption, in which ecosystems—places where animals have spent millions of years adapting—rapidly transform in response to climate change, reducing their ability to adjust. Habitat disruptions (mainly deforestation) are often due to changes in temperature and water availability, which affect the native vegetation and the animals that feed on it. Loss of wetlands, sea level rise, invasive species and disease are all also implicated.


Marine biodiversity

Marine biodiversity is the variety of life in our ocean. It includes all animals, plants and microorganisms living in our ocean, from barnacles to whales to coral reefs. The term is also used to describe…
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The vast, invisible effects of ocean warming

By David Wallace-Wells 06/26/24
The world’s longest-living vertebrate is not the friendly giant tortoise, the breathtaking blue whale or the saltwater crocodile, which can terrorize the imagination of toddlers and centenarians alike. It’s the shuddersome, floppy Greenland shark, which…
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Unlikely Wild Animals Are Being Smuggled Into U.S. Ports: Corals

By Jason Bittel 06/24/24
You might imagine that when federal wildlife inspectors search for illegally trafficked animal goods, they’d be on the lookout for elephant ivory or tiger skins. But other creatures are frequently being seized at American ports…
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Rising seas endanger Long Island marsh bird habitats

By Tracy Tullis 06/22/24
Saltmarsh sparrows build their tiny nests in the dense grasses of the marsh and hide them so well that Nicole Maher, who has been studying coastal wetlands and their inhabitants for nearly 20 years, has…
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New ‘Detective Work’ on Butterfly Declines Reveals a Prime Suspect

By Catrin Einhorn 06/20/24
While a growing body of research shows decreases in many insect populations, it has been hard for scientists to disentangle the possible causes. Are insects suffering from habitat loss as natural areas are plowed and…
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Our Once-Abundant Earth

By John Reid 05/13/24
When Otis Parrish was a kid in the 1940s, abalone were abundant. Each abalone grows in a single, beautiful opalescent shell, which can get as big as a dinner plate. Parrish’s father showed him how…
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Bishop vanished. His species can still be saved

By Harry Stevens and Dino Grandoni 05/11/24
Bishop’s story, from birth to presumed death, shows the extreme danger facing right whales, which could be extinct in three decades if they continue to disappear at the present rate. Bishop’s species is not doomed…
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Environmental Changes Are Fueling Human, Animal and Plant Diseases, Study Finds

By Emily Anthes 05/08/24
Several large-scale, human-driven changes to the planet — including climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the spread of invasive species — are making infectious diseases more dangerous to people, animals and plants, according to…
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44-Foot Whale Found Dead on Bow of Cruise Ship Coming Into New York

By Livia Albeck-Ripka 05/08/24
As the cruise ship approached New York on Saturday, it was found to be carrying a grim, and unexpected, catch: The carcass of a 44-foot-long endangered whale, draped across its bow.
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Warming Ocean Could Harm Octopus Vision

By Andy Fell 04/16/24
Afew degrees of ocean warming could leave octopuses unable to see, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia and UC Davis. Embryo octopus raised in warmer waters lacked proteins…
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Climate change threatens loon population, new study shows

By Gaby Vinick 04/11/24
Famous for their nocturnal calls, loons are aquatic birds often described as icons of the Northwoods. But new research shows climate change impairs their ability to feed their young. A climate-induced decrease in water clarity…
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Birds And Transmission

Building the Grid Birds Need

Living Planet Report 2022

The Living Planet Report 2022 is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet. This flagship WWF publication reveals an average decline of 69% in species populations since 1970.…

Beyond Extinction: A New Emphasis on Species Recovery

The Sumatran rhino, the smallest, shaggiest, and most endangered of the world’s five rhinoceros species, is found only on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

More than 38,500 speciesare threatened with extinction

Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) has been developed over centuries or millennia by indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and is continuously evolving. It provides a unique and rich source of information on biodiversity. There…


Florida’s tiny ‘fairy tale’ deer are losing habitat as seas rise

By YCC Team   04/03/24  
Key deer are found in only one place: the Florida Keys. And they look like something out of a fairytale. The deer are so tiny, they measure only about two feet at the shoulder. Colangelo:…
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We know how to save these beloved endangered whales. Yet we’re mindlessly killing them.

By Benji Jones   04/02/24  
The story of the North Atlantic right whale, an icon of the East Coast, should be one of hope — a tale of recovery. Humanity’s strongest tools have been mobilized for their protection. For centuries,…
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Can we save nature with crazy shapes?

By Harry Stevens   02/14/24  
It was a good day to be a nature lover, or so it seemed. On Dec. 19, 2022, at the U.N. biodiversity summit in Montreal, the countries of the world announced a bold plan to…
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Migrating species crucial to planet under threat, says UN

By Esme Stallard   02/12/24  
From turtle doves to green turtles, from the European eel to the African penguin, migratory species are the great explorers of the animal kingdom.
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Monarch Butterfly Numbers Are Down Sharply at Wintering Areas in Mexico

By Catrin Einhorn   02/09/24  
The number of monarch butterflies at their overwintering areas in Mexico dropped precipitously this year to the second-lowest level on record, according to an annual survey.
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The number of monarch butterflies at their Mexico wintering sites has plummeted this year

By Mark Stevenson   02/08/24  
The number of monarch butterflies at their wintering areas in Mexico dropped by 59% this year to the second lowest level since record keeping began, experts said Wednesday, blaming heat, drought and loss of habitat.…
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Majority of land hermit crab species now use trash for shells

By Frances Vinall   01/26/24  
The majority of terrestrial hermit crab species worldwide have used trash as shells, according to a study by experts at two Polish universities to be published next month.
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Biden administration lays out strategy to protect endangered whales during wind power development

By Zack Budryk   01/25/24  
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Thursday finalized their strategy on the protection of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the offshore wind power development process.
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Bird populations are declining.

By Harry Stevens   01/17/24  
I’m on a Zoom call with a team of researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, their gridded video feeds a sort of Hollywood Squares of bird nerds, and we’re discussing the decline and fall…
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This Antarctic Octopus Has a Warning About Rising Sea Levels

By Delger Erdenesanaa   12/21/23  
Scientists have long wondered whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a ticking time bomb in terms of sea level rise. New evidence from the DNA of a small octopus that lives in the Southern…
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Dozens of Zimbabwe elephants die as climate change dries up Hwange park

By Nyasha Chingono   12/08/23  
Dozens of elephants have died of thirst in Zimbabwe's popular Hwange National Park, and conservationists fear losing more as a drought caused by climate change and the El Nino global weather pattern dries up watering…
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Lizards, fish and other species are evolving with climate change, but not fast enough

By Michael P. Moore and James Stroud   11/21/23  
Climate change is threatening the survival of plants and animals around the globe as temperatures rise and habitats change.
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Climate change is hurting coral worldwide. But these reefs off the Texas coast are thriving

By Jamie Stengle and Others   11/18/23  
Divers descending into azure waters far off the Texas coast dip below a horizon dotted with oil and gas platforms into an otherworldly landscape of undersea mountains crusted with yellow, orange and pink coral as…
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Plastic Has Changed Sea Turtles Forever

By Katherine J. Wu   11/15/23  
As recently as the 1960s, perhaps later—within the life span of Tom Hanks, and within a few years of when the world was using its very first ATMs and contraceptive pills—nearly all of the planet’s…
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Sharks might be ferocious predators, but they’re no match for warming oceans, studies say

By Dinah Voyles Pulver   11/08/23  
The ocean’s most feared but fascinating predators face increasing dangers from the world’s warming oceans, scientists found in two international studies released this week. Both studies revealed new information about sharks that surprised scientists and…
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Cheetahs Are Shifting Their Hunting to Night to Avoid Hotter Weather

By Christina Larson   11/08/23  
Cheetahs are usually daytime hunters, but the speedy big cats will shift their activity toward dawn and dusk hours during warmer weather, a new study finds.
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The Surprising Reason Sea Creatures Are Getting Hungrier

By Matt Simon   11/08/23  
Boom and bust don’t hit much harder than in the Bering Sea. After reaching historically high numbers, the population of snow crabs there cratered by 90 percent following a heat wave in 2018 and 2019.…
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Plant Seeds Are Stuck

By Liam Drew   11/05/23  
Haldre Rogers’s entry into ecology came via the sort of man-made calamity that scientists euphemistically call an “accidental experiment.”
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Gulf oil lease sale postponed by court amid litigation over endangered whale protections

By Kevin MCGill   10/27/23  
A sale of federal Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases that had been scheduled for Nov. 8 was delayed Thursday by a federal appeals court, pending court arguments that focus on protections for an…
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Polar Bear Cubs Face Survival Hurdles Due to Climate Change

By Danielle Bochove   10/05/23  
Polar bears may be struggling to nourish their young as melting sea ice forces some populations to fast for longer periods, according to new research.
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Biden memo directs US agencies to restore ‘healthy and abundant’ salmon runs in the Northwest

By Matthew Daly   10/05/23  
In a move that conservationists and tribes called a potential breakthrough, President Joe Biden has directed federal agencies to use all available authorities and resources to restore “healthy and abundant” salmon runs in the Columbia…
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Climate change is driving many amphibians toward extinction

By Dino Grandoni   10/04/23  
You know the story: Slowly turn up the heat on a frog in a pot of water, and the frog won’t hop out. Oblivious to the imperceptible increase in heat, it will stay put until…
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Meet the whale that may upend the offshore oil industry

By Dino Grandoni and Timothy Puko   09/26/23  
It was a whale of an announcement. After years of research, scientists said they had discovered an entirely new species of whale swimming right under their noses in the Gulf of Mexico.
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‘Mutilating the tree of life’: Wildlife loss accelerating, scientists warn

By Patrick Greenfield   09/19/23  
Groups of animal species are vanishing at a rate 35 times higher than average due to human activity, according to researchers, who say it is further evidence that a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history…
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Climate change takes habitat from big fish, the ocean’s key predators

By Patrick Whittle   09/14/23  
This year’s marine heat waves and spiking ocean temperatures foretell big changes in the future for some of the largest fish in the sea, such as sharks, tunas and swordfish.
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Lobstermen Face Hypoxia in Outer Cape Waters

By Georgia Hall   09/04/23  
Alex Iacono, a lobsterman who says he favors lobsters and ocean solitude over people, is worried about the future of his business. Iacono, who lives in Truro and fishes out of Provincetown on the F/V…
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Can We Talk to Whales?

By Elizabeth Kolbert   09/04/23  
David Gruber began his almost impossibly varied career studying bluestriped grunt fish off the coast of Belize. He was an undergraduate, and his job was to track the fish at night. He navigated by the…
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Scientists were sure climate change was bad for polar bears. Now they know how bad.

By Doyle Rice   09/01/23  
There is a link between global warming and polar bears after all. And it's not a good one. According to a new study released Thursday, for the first time, scientists can measure the impact that…
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Baby Penguins Die as Record Low Antarctic Ice Stokes Extinction Risk

By Liza Tetley   08/24/23  
Colonies of emperor penguins failed to breed at a level never seen before in parts of Antarctica, which saw a total sea ice loss in 2022, a new study says. The findings back predictions that…
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For Antarctica’s emperor penguins, ‘there is no time left’

For Antarctica’s emperor penguins, ‘there is no time left’A new study predicts a bleak future for these iconic birds, which experienced an unprecedented breeding failure last year due to record-low sea ice levels.
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As the Gulf of Maine warms, where are the mussels?

By Sabrina Shankman   08/19/23  
A 2017 study found that as the gulf's waters have drastically warmed in the past 40 years, the population of wild blue mussels has dropped 60 percent along the coast. Since then, those who live…
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Ancient Fires Drove Large Mammals Extinct, Study Suggests

By Katrina Miller   08/17/23  
Wildfires are getting worse. Parts of the United States, scientists say, are experiencing wildfires three times as often — and four times as big — as they were 20 years ago. This summer alone, smoke…
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The Guardian view on protecting corals: what lies beneath matters too

When images of the climate emergency’s impact are so visceral and so widespread, it is easy to neglect what we cannot see. The shocking photographs and video footage of wildfires in Hawaii and Greece, and…
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What’s killing Florida’s coral reefs — and why you should care

By Dino Grandoni and Allyson Chiu   08/09/23  
“Off the charts.” “Disastrous.” “The worst bleaching event that Florida has ever seen.”
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Why the climate movement doesn’t talk about polar bears anymore

By Kate Yoder   08/02/23  
At Alaska’s northernmost point, a bowhead whale carcass on the beach attracted a visitor: a massive polar bear.
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The Snow Crab Vanishes

By Julia O' Malley   07/15/23  
My small turboprop plane whirred low through thick clouds. Below me, St. Paul Island cut a golden, angular shape in the shadow-dark Bering Sea. I saw a lone island village—a grid of houses, a small…
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Sea lions are biting people. They’re sick from toxic algae, officials say.

By Kyle Melnick   07/07/23  
About a month ago, researchers knew there was a problem when hundreds of sea lions began surfacing on Southern California beaches. The charismatic but typically unaggressive sea mammals were biting people who approached them. To…
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Scientists made a frightening discovery when they measured sharks worldwide

By Dino Grandoni   06/15/23  
A massive new survey of nearly 400 coral reefs around the world reveals sharks once common in those waters are vanishing, a troubling sign that the fearsome fish are at a much greater risk of…
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How Biodiversity Hopes to Match Climate’s Investing

By Eric Roston and Natasha White   06/09/23  
More than a million species face potential demise in what might be the biggest extinction event since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Yet efforts to enlist private capital in the fight to protect the…
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Video and Photos Show a Tiny, Critically Endangered Porpoise Still Hanging On

By Catrin Einhorn   06/07/23  
The world’s most endangered marine mammal, a small porpoise called the vaquita, is hanging onto existence and appears to be benefiting from new conservation measures, according to the results of a new scientific survey of…
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3 Tragic Consequences of Global Warming on Ocean Biodiversity

By Dr. Erlijn van Genuchten   06/06/23  
Currently, our planet is suffering from the tragic consequences of three crises at the same time: the climate change, pollution, and biodiversity crisis. Biodiversity refers to the different plants and animals living in a certain…
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Scientists detected 5,000 sea creatures nobody knew existed. It’s a warning.

By Dino Grandoni   05/25/23  
There are bright, gummy creatures that look like partially peeled bananas. Glassy, translucent sponges that cling to the seabed like chandeliers flipped upside down. Phantasmic octopuses named, appropriately, after Casper the Friendly Ghost.
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Tribe signs pact with California to work together on efforts to save endangered salmon

By Ian James   05/04/23  
A California tribe has signed agreements with state and federal agencies to work together on efforts to return endangered Chinook salmon to their traditional spawning areas upstream of Shasta Dam, a deal that could advance…
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20 reasons for conservation hope in Africa

By Paula Kahumbu   05/03/23  
We all know that wildlife conservation matters, but most people couldn’t articulate why. Here’s a few suggestions: Biodiversity: Wildlife conservation helps to maintain biodiversity, which is essential to the health of our planet. Biodiversity refers…
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Safari West welcomes the birth of their first Southern White Rhinoceros calf

By Paige Peterson   04/12/23  
For 14 years, Safari West hoped Eesha might contribute to the growth of global rhino populations herself, but she never showed much interest in the male rhinos.
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Whale of a Tale: Local Anti-Wind Crowd Spins Yarns

By Frank Carini   04/06/23  
As Earth spins into a deepening climate crisis, how we continue to power society will determine our fate. So far, our actions have been guided by greed, selfishness, and lies. Bad actors and special interests…
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Snot otters and other wildlife are not rock stars. Should they be saved?

By Maxine Joselow and Dino Grandoni   04/05/23  
Pandas. Polar bears. Mountain lions. All are examples of what ecologists call “charismatic megafauna,” a term for critters that spark squeals of delight at the zoo and grace the glossy brochures of conservation groups.
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Scientists Scramble to Help Bay Scallops Survive Climate Change

By Hilary Macht   03/27/23  
Researchers begin selective breeding and other initiatives in hopes of saving the East Coast’s last wild bay scallop fisheries.
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‘Rewilding’ Parts of the Planet Could Have Big Climate Benefits

By Bob Berwyn   03/27/23  
Restoring populations of land and marine animals in targeted “rewilding” zones would speed up biological carbon pumps that remove carbon dioxide from the air and sequester the greenhouse gas where it doesn’t harm the climate,…
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The race to stop starfish from melting into goo

By Dino Grandoni   03/04/23  
In an old industrial warehouse, Tiffany Rudek leaned into a chest-high tank. Using a laminated card, she gently pried a red-speckled sea star from the enclosure’s bright blue walls. The starfish was reluctant, clinging with…
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