WILDLIFE

WILDLIFE

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.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

WWF

Living Planet Report 2022

10/13/22
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

09/01/21
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

08/31/21
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…

MORE NEWS

In a warming world, who wins: Goats or sheep?

By Dino Grandoni   10/17/22  
The decline of ice in Glacier National Park is revealing once buried salt licks. Now mountain goats and bighorn sheep are fighting over them.

A Fast-Emptying Ark

By Bill McKibben   10/14/22  
A vast new study finds there are 70 percent fewer wild animals sharing the earth with us than there were in 1970. A vast new study finds there are 70 percent fewer wild animals sharing…
NPR

Animal populations shrank an average of 69% over the last half-century, a report says

By Joe Hernandez   10/14/22  
Global animal populations are declining, and we've got limited time to try to fix it. That's the upshot of a new report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, which analyzed…

Animal populations experience average decline of almost 70% since 1970, report reveals

By Patrick Greenfield   10/13/22  
Earth’s wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and…

While Human Population Doubled, Wildlife Decreased By Almost 70%

By Eric Mack   10/13/22  
On average, most wildlife species number less than a third what they did in 1970, during a period when we added over four billion humans to the planet. That’s the latest startling statistic from the…

Living Planet Index: what does an average decline of 69% really mean?

By Hannah Ritchie   10/13/22  
The Living Planet Index is the biodiversity metric that always claims the headlines. Unfortunately many of these headlines are wrong. The index is very easy to misinterpret. The Living Planet Index reports an average decline…

Populations of monitored vertebrate species have declined 69% globally since the 1970s: WWF report

By Julia Jacobo   10/13/22  
Drastic declines in animal species over the past several decades paints a grim picture for the future of healthy ecosystems, which in turn impact human health, according to a new report. Populations of monitored vertebrate…

Researchers Report a Staggering Decline in Wildlife. Here’s How to Understand It.

By Catrin Einhorn   10/12/22  
It’s clear that wildlife is suffering mightily on our planet, but scientists don’t know exactly how much. A comprehensive figure is exceedingly hard to determine. Counting wild animals — on land and at sea, from…

Half of world’s bird species in decline as destruction of avian life intensifies

By Phoebe Weston   09/28/22  
The State of the World’s Birds report, which is released every four years by BirdLife International, shows that the expansion and intensification of agriculture is putting pressure on 73% of species. Logging, invasive species, exploitation…
BBC

Climate change: More studies needed on possibility of human extinction

By Ella Hambly   08/02/22  
The authors say that the consequences of more extreme warming - still on the cards if no action is taken - are "dangerously underexplored". They argue that the world needs to start preparing for the…

Climate change is killing more elephants than poaching, Kenyan officials say

By Jennifer Hassan   07/28/22  
Illegal ivory poaching once posed a significant threat to Kenya’s elephants. But now the giants of the animal kingdom are facing an even bigger risk: climate change. As Kenya battles its worst drought in four…

Climate change, vanishing islands in Louisiana threaten brown pelicans

By Christina Larson   07/28/22  
Sliding off the side of her small boat, seabird biologist Bonnie Slaton wades through waist-high water as brown pelicans soar overhead until she reaches the shores of Raccoon Island. During seabird breeding season, this place…

Monarch butterflies are now an endangered species

By Natasha Daly   07/21/22  
A beloved visitor to summer gardens is officially an endangered species. The migratory monarch butterfly—the iconic subspecies common to North America—was declared endangered today by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the…

Why monarch butterflies, now endangered, are on the ‘edge of collapse’

By Dino Grandoni   07/21/22  
The migratory monarch butterfly, a North American icon with a continent-spanning annual journey, now faces the threat of extinction, according to a top wildlife monitoring group.

Threat of global extinction may be greater than previously thought, study finds

By Gianna Melillo   07/19/22  
Amid increasingly dire headlines foretelling a grim outlook for the Earth’s biodiversity and environment, results of a new survey conducted among more than 3,300 scientists show the extent of extinction might be even worse than…

Lazy Bears and Confused Birds: What a Warming Planet Means for Wildlife

By David J. Craig   06/21/22  
The Alaskan tundra, a vast, windswept, and treeless region at the edge of the Arctic Circle, is a place of stunning natural beauty. In winter, the area is blanketed by darkness, and polar bears, wolves,…

Winter ticks wiped out nearly 90% of the moose calves scientists tracked in part of Maine last year

By Kevin Miller and Others   05/18/22  
Maine is home to the largest moose population in the lower 48 states. But in one of the moosiest corners of the state, nearly 90% of the calves tracked by biologists last winter didn’t survive…

Ocean animals face a mass extinction from climate change

By Sarah Kaplan   04/28/22  
Warming waters are cooking creatures in their own habitats. Many species are slowly suffocating as oxygen leaches out of the seas. Even populations that have managed to withstand the ravages of overfishing, pollution and habitat…

Warning on Mass Extinction of Sea Life: ‘An Oh My God Moment’

By Catrin Einhorn   04/28/22  
At first, the scientists chose a straightforward title for their research: “Marine Extinction Risk From Climate Warming.” But as publication approached, something nagged at them. Their findings illustrated two drastically different outcomes for ocean life…

These whales are on the brink. Now comes climate change — and wind power.

By Dino Grandoni   04/21/22  
About 17 nautical miles south of Nantucket, a half-dozen New England Aquarium researchers scrambled across this vessel’s icy deck. Clutching binoculars, clipboards and cameras, they strained to catch a glimpse and scribble notes about a…

Polar bear inbreeding and bird ‘divorces’: Weird ways climate change is affecting animal species

By Julia Jacobo   02/12/22  
The world's biodiversity is constantly being threatened by warming temperatures and extreme changes in climate and weather patterns. And while that "doom and gloom" is the typical discourse surrounding how climate change is affecting biodiversity,…
CNN

How birds are adapting to climate crisis

By Katie Hunt   02/11/22  
Thousands of birds die each spring and fall when they collide with Chicago's skyscrapers, which lie on a major migration path between Canada and Latin America. But the birds don't die in vain. Since the…

Wildlife officials move to feed Florida’s starving manatees

By Lori Rozsa   12/07/21  
A record manatee die-off in Florida this year has become so dire that federal officials are taking a once unthinkable step — feeding the wild marine mammals to help them survive the winter...

Albatrosses, known for monogamy, may be pushed to ‘divorce’ because of climate change, study finds

By Miriam Berger   11/24/21  
“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen wrote in the opening lines of “Pride and Prejudice,” “that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Social…

Scientists Searching For Way To Save Bay Scallops From Climate Change Threat

By Michael Wright   11/17/21  
As the East End mopes its way through a third-straight disastrous bay scallop season — desperate scallop lovers are forking over upwards of $45 per pound for cousins of the Peconic Bay scallop, imported from…

Ivory-billed woodpecker officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species

By Dino Grandoni   09/29/21  
The “Lord God Bird” is dead. The ivory-billed woodpecker, a ghostly bird whose long-rumored survival in the bottomland swamps of the South has haunted seekers for generations, will be officially declared extinct by U.S. officials…

California’s disappearing salmon

By Scott Wilson   09/13/21  
For centuries, spring-run Chinook salmon, among California’s most iconic fish, would rest for weeks in these historically cold waters after their brutal upstream journey. Then they would lay eggs and, finally, perish to complete one…

California builds a ‘Noah’s Ark’ to protect wildlife from extinction by fire and heat

By Louis Sahagún   08/18/21  
It was just before sunrise in July when the botanists Naomi Fraga and Maria Jesus threw on backpacks and crunched their way across a brittle alkaline flat in the hottest corner of the Mojave Desert.…

Why Whales Are Important For Carbon Sequestration

By Francesco Bassetti   08/22/20  
Killing the world’s largest animal grew into a global trade in the sixteenth century when Basque whalers developed important technological improvements that allowed for commercial whaling. Since then whales have been driven to the brink…