Polar bears are ‘invading’ villages in Russia, elephants are causing havoc in South Africa, and koala bears are being forced out of their homes. We understand the impact of climate change on the rising water levels, but how does it affect the animals that inhabit this earth?
Are humans and animals alike being forced to share the same space?
Answer: It’s already happening!
In Belushya Guba, a work settlement of Novaya Zemlya, a state of emergency has been announced as more than 50 polar bears entered the settlement. Belushya Guba is located in the Artic Ocean and is about 1,200 miles to the northeast of Moscow. Around 560 people live in the settlement and are now afraid to leave their homes due to the sheer amount of polar bears wandering through the streets.
What’s the reason for these hungry 1,300 lbs. polar bears coming into such close proximity?
Scientists believe it could be due to the declining seal population and the shrinking sea ice caused by climate change. Scientists found that underfed bears in the Arctic were losing 1% of their body mass every day.
It’s happening all across the world. Interactions between humans and wildlife are becoming more common. Australia faced a mob of starving kangaroos seeking food and protection from the droughts. Whilst the marsupial is considered a pest in the country, the ACT’s Department of Environment said the numbers of kangaroos have increased. There are more than 44 million kangaroos in the country, that’s double the human population of 24 million.
Last year, Australia faced its worst drought in over half a century. New South Wales had 309,000 square miles in drought, an area that is three times the size of the United Kingdom. The weather conditions are only worsening; in the island state of Tasmania, temperatures reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest March day recorded in 131 years and Australia is expected to warm up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2090.
Conflict is increasing between people and wildlife in Africa.
Frequent droughts in Africa have created conflict as elephants have expanded their travel range. The population of elephants in Botswana of Southern Africa is about 130,000 and has become a hot topic worldwide as the country discusses whether to lift the hunting ban on these animals.
African elephants require 150-300 litres of water per day and are able to adapt to environmental changes, however, droughts have affected vegetation causing the elephants to migrate outside of their natural range in search of food and water and encroach on human settlements.
Non-native Parakeets flocking to Greece
Due to climatic conditions, an increasing amount of exotic birds have been spotted in the Greek capital-Athens. Parakeets normally associated with Africa, Asia, India and Latin America are residing in the country and fighting for nesting holes with woodpeckers and bats. The Greek authorities have taken steps in removing the parrot nests from trees in Athens’ national gardens because of the danger to passing pedestrians. Some of the nests posed a risk of falling from the trees due to their weight. Due to the rising numbers, the Hellenic Ornithological Society created a campaign to count the number of ring-necked parakeets living in the parks.
It’s not just Greece; there now reports of the parrots being sighted elsewhere in Europe and people are now asking whether these non-native birds could affect local biodiversity.
“The climatic conditions here are ideal for their survival,” Panagiotis Latsoudis, head of the Hellenic Ornithological Society told the Guardian. Exotic plants and fruit-bearing trees provide the ideal environment for the birds to survive.
Koalas lose water supply
Research carried out on the role of climate change on gum leaves found that koalas will reject the plants if the water content is less than 55% to 65%. Droughts and heat waves are drying up the water content found in eucalyptus leaves, meaning these furry animals that rely on them as a water and food source are now having to find other means of survival.
Koalas are quite particular about what they eat, finding their primary source of food from just 20 of the 600 eucalyptus species, and that’s providing the tree leaves meet the water content percentage criteria. Koalas can sleep up to 18 hours a day, and eat up to two and a half pounds of leaves per day. As the natural habitats of koalas are disappearing, it forces these animals to change their drinking habits and leave their homes, either wandering onto eucalyptus plantations or encroaching on human habitats.
The reality of Climate Change is unavoidable, if it’s not featured in some type of media report or social media, then just take a glance outside of your window. After the UN’s report on Climate Change and the urgent call to act, if we weren’t already aware of the dire situation, facing an apex predator in your own home should certainly do the trick.
Do you think we will end up living in closer proximity with wild animals?
If we reach the 1.5-degree threshold, there will be dire consequences for plants and animals. Deforestation has destroyed the homes of tigers, elephants and puts 193 critically endangered species at risk. Did you hear about the ‘Rang-tan’ ad about palm oil? Let us know your thoughts and get in touch with us through Twitter or Instagram or get in touch via the form below.