Are Large Carnivores Doomed by Climate Change?

Wolves of Douglas County News

Source: Huff Post Green by Cristina EisenbergEcologist, Author

The world is getting warmer, creating an extinction threat for many species. According to NASA, since 1880 the Earth’s global temperature has risen by nearly one degree Celsius. However, not all species are equally affected by climate change. And as wildlife biologists such as Aldo Leopold discovered nearly a century ago, not all species are equally important ecologically. Large carnivores play a lead role in maintaining resilient, biodiverse ecosystems because they control their prey, which indirectly improves habitat for other species. Today, some of these ecologically powerful carnivores are highly vulnerable to climate change.

Global Warming Since 1880, Courtesy NASA
In our rapidly warming world, species have two choices: they can adapt or go extinct. A species’ natural history determines its ability to adapt–and its extinction risk. This means that a “generalist” species with a high reproductive rate, high dispersal, and…

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