Climate Change and its Effect on Animals

Climate change is, needless to say, affecting the natural world. According to the NOAA’s 2021 Annual Climate Report, the combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1880. Increased emissions of greenhouse gasses result in lower quality breathing air and change in overall climate. As a result of of this, thousands of species are suffering. The animals listed are only a handful of animals that are being directly killed because of climate change as every species is affected in some way.


Due to climate change, temperatures rise resulting in changes in forest species and increase in parasites. Moose are able to live comfortably during the winter and struggle during the summer with their thick skin and fur. As temperature increases, moose get overheated and seek shade to forage. When moose do not eat enough during the summer, they are left with not enough fat for winters. In addition, less body weight means less calf population. 

Temperature increases mean an increase in the parasite population who is now able to sustain life in winters as its not as cold as it was before. Moose are vulnerable to parasites as their immune system weakens due to heat stress. These effects are already showing in Maine where 90% of calves didn’t survive their first year because of winter ticks.


Climate change increases the temperature, which results in flooding and overflows of water. In salmon’s habitat severe floods result in increased egg and alevin dying to gravel scour. Salmon migration is based on blooming plankton, the increase of temperature would then affect plankton blooms and the salmon migration cycle, which leads to altering in fish development, activity, growth, migration timing, and survival. Warming temperatures also result in habitat loss and increase death rates for salmon as well as increase in population for those accustomed to warmer temperatures. This includes potential predators and competitors for the salmon. According to the New York Times, “in 2015, unusually warm waters killed an estimated 250,000 sockeye salmon.” The death of salmon will also impact its surrounding ecosystems as at least 138 species rely on the salmon for food in some way. It also directly affects humans as an estimated 16,000 jobs in the commercial and recreational fishing industry depend on salmon.

Sea Turtles

Without the factors of climate change, sea turtles face  many challenges involving numerous threats from humans and predators. However climate change has only increased these challenges, starting with rising sea levels and stronger storms, which destroys habitats and damage to essential coral reefs. Coral reefs are an important food source for turtles and are dying due to unfit temperatures, decreasing food sources for sea turtles. Rising sea levels impact nesting areas for sea turtles and their ability to track down these sites to repeat the cycle. Sea turtle eggs’ gender also depend on the beache’s temperatures, warmer temperatures produce females while cooler temperatures result in males. Due to rising temperatures, there will be a significant increase in female population and decrease in male population, making it harder to find a male to mate with and decrease production of eggs.

In order to prevent the loss of vital species and biodiversity, increased action must be taken now. Each day innocent animals die as an effect of increased carbon emissions and pollution caused by us humans, but this is not yet the worst to come. According to the Nature Conservancy, “To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we must globally achieve net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050.” In order to establish this goal and reverse these effects, adjust your daily life such as lowering your heating and cooling as this contributes to the majority  of electricity used at home. Instead of using cars that contribute to carbon emissions, walk, bike, or take public transport. If we start changing our everyday lives we will be closer to a better and brighter future not only for us but for the thousands of animals depending on it.

Works Cited

Fazio, Marie. “Northwest’s Salmon Population May Be Running Out of Time (Published 2021).” The New York Times, 20 January 2021, Accessed 3 February 2023.

“Information About Sea Turtles: Threats from Climate Change – Sea Turtle Conservancy.” Sea Turtle Conservancy, Accessed 3 February 2023.

Lindsey, Rebecca, and LuAnn Dahlman. “Climate Change: Global Temperature | NOAA”, 18 January 2023, Accessed 3 February 2023.

McClintock, James. “Climate Change Facts & FAQs.” The Nature Conservancy, 9 December 2018, Accessed 3 February 2023.

Miller, Kevin, and Esta Pratt. “Winter ticks wiped out nearly 90% of the moose calves scientists tracked in part of Maine last year.” WBUR, 18 May 2022, Accessed 3 February 2023.

Rines, Kristine, and Dan Bergeron. “How will climate change affect moose.” UNH Extension, Accessed 3 February 2023.“Salmon and Trout | Climate Change Resource Center.” USDA Forest Service, Accessed 3 February 2023.

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