Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Global Warming Effects on Animals

Global Warming Effects on Animals

Effects of global warming are already being felt on plant and animal species across the world; although the most dramatic effects may not be felt for decades, according to studies.

Climate variability and change can affect plants and animals in a number of ways; birds are laying eggs earlier in the year than usual, plants are blooming earlier and mammals are coming out of hibernation sooner than in previous decades. Distribution of animals is also affected; many species are moving closer to the poles as a response to the global temperature increasing. Birds are migrating and arriving earlier at their nesting grounds, and the nesting grounds that they are moving to are not as far away as they used to be and in some countries the birds don't even leave anymore, as the climate is suitable all year round.

These changes are not to harmful as long as the happen in a synchronized way, for example if butterflies emerge before the flowers they depend on for survival, then we could see many of the rarer, regional species being wiped out.

Geographic ranges of some plants and animals have shifted northward and upward in elevation. A good example of this is the red fox; this species has moved north and is now getting close to the arctic fox's range, threatening its survival. Similar range shifts have also been observed within the United States in birds, mammals and plants.

The case of the red fox is interesting, but what if these animals can't move to cooler climates - huge safari parks in Africa home some of the rarest animals on the planet, including African Wild Dogs which are already close to extinction - where do these animals go? Are we in our efforts to protect then, really killing them?