Up to half of plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas—including the Amazon and the Galápagos—could face extinction by the turn of the 21st century because of climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise, according to World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
Complicating the fight against global carbon emissions was President Donald Trump’s decision last year to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, an accord that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
“Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,” said Nikhil Advani, a specialist for climate, communities, and wildlife at WWF on the WWF website.
Rising temperatures on our planet have forced animals to seek colder climates to survive, particularly in the Arctic region and the North Atlantic Ocean. Higher temperatures are destroying their natural habitats.
To be sure, climate change is not the only threat to animals. Other factors that are pushing some species to extinction include overfishing, rapid economic development, deforestation, and poaching. As a result of all these factors, many animals are categorized as at least vulnerable. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, based in Gland, Switzerland, evaluates the risk level for animal species, and the animals that are most at risk are deemed critically endangered.
To address climate change, the WWF advocates taking measures to reduce carbon emissions to preserve animal species. Among them are replanting forests, restoring beach vegetation to nurture sea turtle nests, providing access to freshwater for elephants, and finding areas of solid sea ice in the Arctic region for polar bears to survive.
24/7 Wall St. compiled its list of animals likely to go extinct due to climate change based on the conservation status of animals provided by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, an international non-governmental organization working to preserve wilderness and reduce human impact on the environment. Additional data and information were obtained from the The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, which keeps an inventory of the global conservation status of biological species, and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the federal government within the Department of the Interior. There are thousands of animals at various stages of risk. We chose the animals on this list because they are the ones that are the most imperiled because of their diminished population.
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