Friday, June 25, 2010

Migratory species face disaster from climate change, UN-backed report warns

UN News Centre: Migratory species face disaster from the effects of climate change unless urgent action is taken, according to the preliminary findings of a forthcoming United Nations-backed report. “Increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, ocean acidification, changes in ocean currents and extreme weather events will all affect migratory species populations,” said Aylin McNamara, who led the research project at the Zoological Society of London.

…International efforts for species conservation across national borders and to mitigate climate change were imperative, Ms. McNamara added. “These vulnerability assessments show us the likely order in which these species will become extinct” if such action is not taken.

The research, conducted in support of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), shows that even subtle changes in environmental conditions caused by climate change could have catastrophic consequences for animals that migrate.

Loggerhead turtles, for example, face the loss of suitable beaches for nesting due to sea-level rise, while a rise in temperature could cause the entire male population of a species to be eradicated. Green turtles, hawksbill turtles and leatherback turtles are also at high risk from climate change, along with the blue whale, West African manatee and giant catfish…

A loggerhead sea turtle in the National Aquarium in Washington DC, shot by Bachrach44, Wikimedia Commons

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