For most animals, climate change has a negative impact on their habitat. A few animal species take advantage of the rising temperatures.
Climate change caused by humans is damaging most animal species: In the Arctic, the ice is melting and, for example, the habitat of polar bears is melting away.
The temperature of the oceans is rising. Among other things, this damages the corals, which are bleaching and dying. The increasing drought not only burns the forests, it also endangers frogs and toads. Just a few examples of how climate change harms many animal species.
Food supply for beavers is improving
Beavers in Alaska, on the other hand, benefit from climate change. The rising temperatures mean that bushes grow in the valleys of Alaska that were previously frozen over. Bushes that provide the beavers living there with food and building material for their beaver castles and dams.
This allows beavers to conquer and colonize new habitats. The beaver dams created 56 new reservoirs in Alaska in just five years.
These additional lakes could exacerbate climate change, however, says biologist Mario Ludwig. Because the water in the lakes is warmer than the ground, which accelerates the thawing of the permafrost .
This could lead to the release of large quantities of greenhouse gases, especially methane. This in turn would drive climate change further.
Some species of penguin benefit from climate change, while others do not
Emperor penguins, for example, the largest penguins in the world, depend on pack ice . The pack ice serves them as an important platform from which they dive for food and as a refuge from predators.
Due to climate change, the pack ice is melting more and more. Researchers say: if global warming continues at the same rate, emperor penguins could be almost or possibly completely extinct by the end of the century.
Less pack ice is good for Adelie penguins
Researchers from Japan have found that Adelie penguins, a small species of penguin, get along much better when there is less pack ice . Because in times when there is less ice, the Adelie penguins were more swimming than walking. This enabled them to enlarge their hunting ground while using less energy. Because running is more strenuous for penguins than swimming. They were able to get more forage, gained weight and as a result had more offspring. In addition, thanks to better nutrition, the young animals grew up significantly faster.
“In Germany, one insect is a winner of climate change that is not very popular: the Asian tiger mosquito.
Mario Ludwig, biologist
Asian tiger mosquito – carrier of various diseases
The Asian tiger mosquito is also spreading due to warmer temperatures in Germany. It is an Asian mosquito species that was introduced to Germany in 2007.
It can transmit some dangerous diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever, and chikungunya fever. The warmth-loving tiger mosquito has spread more rapidly in recent years, especially in southern Germany .
Experts expect that if the temperatures continue to rise, it will also be able to establish itself in northern Germany in the medium term , says the biologist Mario Ludwig.
So far the risk of epidemics is still low
At the moment we do not have to expect that the Asian tiger mosquito will cause new epidemics with dangerous diseases in Germany. Because in Germany there are very few or no people who have the pathogen of the diseases mentioned in their blood. In order to be able to transmit certain pathogens, an Asian mosquito must first infect itself on a sick person. In the medium term, however, this could become a problem, says biologist Mario Ludwig.
Green woodpecker spreads to higher altitudes
According to the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection in North Rhine-Westphalia, the stocks of the green woodpecker are currently increasing significantly. The green woodpecker owes this to the milder temperatures caused by climate change.
The green woodpecker’s tree hollows also benefit other species
Thanks to milder temperatures, the green woodpecker can now find enough food in the often snow-free winters in Germany. It is now spreading to the low mountain range and other higher elevations.
Other animal species such as bats, starlings, or wild bees, who use the tree hollows made by the woodpecker as a second-hand apartment, also benefit indirectly from this.
Few positive examples, many animal species are threatened with extinction
Some animal species are doing really well due to climate change. These few positive examples are just the exceptions to the rule: if climate change advances at this rate, numerous species will become extinct, says biologist Mario Ludwig.
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