Wildlife and Climate Change
Why It Matters
Climate is the most important predictor of butterfly species distribution. Butterflies have been documented shifting their range toward the poles and to higher altitudes.
Changing Food and Water Availability
African elephants need up to 300 liters of water a day, just for drinking. As rainfall patterns change, humans and wildlife are competing for diminishing sources of water.
Increase in Pests and Disease
As winters get warmer and shorter, moose populations in the northern US are declining due to tick infestations.
Changes in the Timing of Life Cycle Events
Responding to warmer spring temperatures, plants are flowering earlier than they used to, resulting in a mismatch between peak plant growth and the animals that depend on them.
Oceans have absorbed much of the planet’s warming since the Industrial Revolution. Warming oceans are causing corals to expel the algae living in their tissues and turn white—a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. Over time, the corals can die off and no longer offer a healthy ocean habitat for the species that rely on them for feeding and protection.