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The climate threat to endangered species

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The climate threat to endangered species

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It is not just mankind that is threatened by climate change.

As polar ice becomes more scarce, species like the Emperor Penguin and Ringed Seal are struggling to find places to reproduce, feed and rear their young.
As the Arctic tundra warms and gives life to new plants, the Arctic Fox risks being chased to extinction by its predatory cousin the Red Fox.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has presented its annual report on endangered species and the first dedicated exclusively to climate change.

Wendy Foden is co-author of the report “Species and Climate Change.” She says the problem goes much further than just a top 10 list of endangered species:

“Globally thousands and thousands of species are already affected and of course pretty much all species will be affected in the longer term. What we were doing today was really highlighting some of the ones that are most sensitive; some that are good flagships for what is happening and what is going to happen,” she said.

The Beluga Whale also finds itself on the IUCN’s Red List as does the Atlantic Salmon, which is highly susceptible to higher water temperatures and resulting reduced oxygen levels.

In warmer climes, corals will be weakened by ocean acidification, a result of too much carbon dioxide says the IUCN. And finding Nemos will become harder as Clownfish numbers dwindle, again due to more acidic waters.

And then there are plants like the Quiver Tree of southern Africa, which is struggling to adapt to more frequent droughts.

These species are under threat and the IUCN believes only man can do something about it.

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