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6 Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate Change

By Marike Lauwrens 6 months ago
Categories Conservation

Climate change has become an every day term in today’s day and age. I have often thought about what this phenomenon means in reality? Temperature changes might not seem dramatic but over time we start to see devastating results:

• Some islands no longer exist
• The occurrence of natural disasters is increasing
• A number of stunning destinations are on the brink of vanishing
• And sadly, wildlife becomes extinct due to changing ecosystems and habitat loss

In practice, climate change affects animal species in the following ways:

• Climate patterns change and animals have to adapt accordingly
• They experience habitat losses due to increased greenhouse emissions
• The animals have to alter their breeding and feeding patterns in order to survive

If these animal species can’t migrate to more favourable climatic areas, their fate might be sealed. Join me as I journey the four corners of the earth to uncover 6 animal species and how they are affected by climate change.


• The African cheetah is the world’s fastest animal but is losing the race against climate change
• Their prey is also suffering and as a result, the cheetahs have had to change their diets
• A rise in temperatures has also affected this big cat’s ability to reproduce
• Male cheetahs have shown lowered testosterone levels and a sperm count almost 10 times lower than your house cat

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate Change

Giant Panda Bears

This iconic bear and WWF trademark feeds exclusively on bamboo, but unfortunately, climate change is causing a major wipeout of bamboo in their natural habitat in China. Apart from being the bears’ staple diet, bamboo also provides them with shelter from the elements.

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate ChangePhoto: Soren Wolf/Flickr

Green Turtles

Green turtles are very sensitive to changes in temperatures
• A baby turtle’s gender depends on the temperature of the sand where the eggs are laid
• The warmer areas will more likely produce female turtles and with an increase in global warming there might be more females than males
• This threatens the turtles’ genetic diversity and survival

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate Change

Asian Elephants

• These gentle giants are particularly sensitive to high temperatures
• In order to survive they need to drink a great amount of fresh water daily
• Climate changes and global warming counteract this need
• It also creates favourable conditions for invasive plants to thrive and outmatch the elephants’ regular food sources

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate Change

Polar Bears

Climate change and global warming result in less Arctic sea ice for the bears to hunt seals on. This reduces their access to food sources and threatens their habitat and overall survival.

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate Change
Photo: Shannon Curtis / Polar Bears International

Adélie Penguins

• These birds live in the Antarctic and feed on krill (found under the ice sheets)
• As the ice melts, krill populations decrease and the penguins have to migrate from their natural habitat in an attempt to find alternative food sources
• This influences their breeding patterns negatively

Animal Species And How They Are Affected By Climate ChangePhoto: Chad Rosenthal/Flickr

In case you didn’t know, climate change is a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases. Kindly consider reducing your carbon footprint or join an international animal care program abroad in a desperate attempt to help save our world’s animal kingdom.

GVI is an international award-winning volunteer organisation. Learn about our wildlife and marine conservation projects and internships in 10 countries around the world.


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