Animals Taking A Hit From Climate Changes by Dena Ventrudo

“Climate change could lead to the extinction of many animals including migratory birds, says a report commissioned by the UK government. ” BBC News

“The UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned research, which was led by the British Trust for Ornithology. It says that warming has already changed the migration routes of some birds and other animals.

Scientists have already observed a myriad of changes in the migration patterns of birds, fish and turtles, in response to warming which has already occurred.

Some species normally associated with more southerly countries, such as the little egret, the loggerhead turtle, and the red mullet, are increasingly seen in and around the UK.

Wading birds such as the ringed plover are now spending the winter in the east of Britain rather than on the west coast, and chiff-chaffs are remaining in the UK throughout the year rather than migrating south.

Even subtle changes in sea temperature can have dramatic impacts on wildlife with rapid depletion of the tiny plankton organisms which form the base of the food web in the oceans.

Some of the other threats from climate change identified in the study include:

Increased storminess damaging the breeding colonies of albatross, already facing heavy pressure from accidental capture on long-line fishing hooks Sea level rise destroying beach nesting sites for sea turtles – for example, nearly a third of beaches used by turtles in the Caribbean would be lost with the rise anticipated during this century, and seals and wading birds also face destruction of their coastal habitats Warmer seas could lead to some turtle species becoming entirely female, as water temperature strongly affects the sex ratio of hatchlings Growing water scarcity in many regions could further destroy the wetland areas on which migrating waterfowl depend. The spreading extent of the Sahara desert could threaten long-range travelers such as the swallow, as they will be unable to “fuel up” in previously fertile regions on the desert’s edge.

The changes currently under way are simply too rapid for species to evolve new strategies for survival.

Their options are also being narrowed by the rapid conversion of ecosystems such as the draining of wetlands, felling of forests and development of coastlines – so if their existing habitats are hit by global warming, there is literally no place to go.” BBC News

You can see it happening in our own backyards. Just last week in Valley Cottage, New York, the temperature reached 62 degrees. The week leading up to this record breaking high for January held temperatures of 45-58 degrees fahrenheit.

During last week I noticed a handful of robins at my birdfeeder. Robins, with their easy-to-identify red chests, usually do not migrate back up north to New York until April.

The effects of global warming’s climate changes are truly global and the impacts of such changes are reaching even the tiniest members of our planet; the members who do not have the power or opportunity to save their species, this earth, and the damage being done.

These animals, our global ecosystem and foundation of our basic existence, are relying on us to save them. By saving them, we are saving our future.

Please Help.

by Dena Ventrudo
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She has a BA in Liberal Studies from SUNY Purchase College.