The last few years have not been kind to wildlife. Some groups have severely suffered more than others. Multiple factors are believed to have contributed to the decline in wildlife health population, and most of them caused by humans. Nevertheless, there is still a chance to fix the problem. The first step is to understand the potential damage of human actions to the environment and make conscious efforts to end the decline in wildlife health.
Few areas are in as much danger as the polar ecosystems. Many people think of them as barren, inhospitable environments, but they harbor massive populations of fish and mammals. Marine animals and other mammalian creatures depend on polar ice to provide living space, so they are usually the first to suffer when the ice begins to melt. It causes them to lose their homes and disrupts the food chain.
The polar bears make a good example. They need sea ice to hunt seals—their primary food source. The melting ice caps have already caused 40% of the polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea to die, and other polar bear populations are facing similar threats. Other species in the area are also in danger because they are also losing their habitats and the sudden loss of predators are causing starvation.
Global warming can also contribute to the decline of wildlife health in animals that don’t need to worry about their homes melting. Certain types of organisms, such as the Pika of western United States, can only survive within a narrow band of temperatures.
Many of the creatures that need cool temperatures are choosing to build homes on mountains to survive. However, even mountains in some parts of the country are not conducive to living anymore because they get too warm very quickly. As a result, they are forced to migrate and find a more hospital environment.
Recent documents suggest that the American Pika’s range has declined to one-third of its original size, and it’s getting smaller as temperatures continue to rise. It only takes a few hours in a hot environment for these creatures to succumb to heat stroke and die. Their only hope for survival is to hide at the very top of a few mountains and wait for humans to stop damaging nature.
Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl can only survive in a limited range of environments. Most of them live and breed in swampy regions where they have access to the water that they need to feed and the land on which they rest and breed. Global warming is attacking these birds from multiple angles resulting in the loss of most of their breeding sites.
Waterfowl that live near the coasts are suffering from rising sea levels. Their preferred marshes tend to be near the seashore. Hence, they’re among the first to be affected when the waters rise. When that happens, they are forced to change their migratory patterns and find new homes as most of them cannot survive in saltwater.
Inland species are also losing their homes. Rising temperatures are contributing to drought which causes lakes and rivers to dry up. This forces the organisms to find new places to live.
Water pollution also causes problems for waterfowl. They are prone to eating litter which causes them to choke and die. Pollution also kills native fish species by destroying their food supply. Ducks are still abundant in many areas, but that may change soon if humans continue to destroy their habitats.
Invasive species are causing problems in almost every type of environment. These species, such as the zebra mussel, are introduced into ecosystems by humans. They have no natural predators in their new home, so they multiply quickly. They eventually begin to compete with the native species and can drive them to extinction if not stopped.
These organisms spread more quickly in the modern era than in the past because technology has made travel easier than ever. People need to be aware of the impact of invasive species and look for ways to control or prevent their occurrence.
The best way to fight invasive species is through education and regulation, and so far many government agencies are now providing both. A good number of campaigns have been successful which goes to show that humans have the capability to stop wildlife health shrinking and prevent further decline in wildlife health.
Stop Climate Change
Environmental change affects wildlife health. Studies have shown that the global wildlife populations dropped by more than 50% in the past few decades, and the number could increase if no immediate actions are taken.
The good news is more and more people are realizing the danger of climate change. Any effort, big or small, can make a huge difference in protecting wildlife health and saving their population.