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Global Warming to Hit Migratory and Static Species

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Global Warming to Hit Migratory and Static Species UK: October 6, 2005 LONDON - The Golden Toad has already paid the ultimate price of extinction and other
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2005
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      Global Warming to Hit Migratory and Static Species

      UK: October 6, 2005

      LONDON - The Golden Toad has already paid the ultimate price of
      extinction and other species are expected to follow suit as the world
      warms, according to a report published on Thursday.

      Changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increases in extreme
      weather events like droughts and floods due to global warming are already
      destroying habitats, and scientists expect the rate of destruction to
      increase, it said.
      And the species most at risk are those that either can't move and can't
      adapt fast enough or those that migrate over long distances but find
      their specialised stop-over points gone or disappearing and their vital
      food supplies dwindling.

      "Although it is thought that no species has yet become extinct solely
      because of climate change -- the Golden Toad is a possible exception --
      many are predicted," the report commissioned by Britain's Department of
      the Environment said.

      The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes), a spectacularly coloured species which
      lived on a single mountain in Costa Rica, has not been seen since a lone
      male was spotted in 1989. Scientists believe rising temperatures may have
      driven it to extinction.

      The report, prepared ahead of the Eighth Conference of the Parties -- the
      decision making body of the Convention on Migratory Species -- in Nairobi
      next month, calls for urgent in-depth studies to identify the main
      species at risk.

      "The report is sobering. It shows very clearly the devastating effect
      that climate change will have on migratory species," said British
      biodiversity minister Jim Knight.

      Birds, seals, penguins, polar bears, fish, whales and reptiles are among
      the thousands of threatened species.

      "Migratory species, by travelling large distances, being subject to a
      wide range of environmental influences and relying on a wide range of
      natural resources, are particularly likely to be affected by climate
      change," the report said.

      And while rising sea levels could drown breeding grounds for some
      mammals, warming seas could shift fish distribution as
      temperature-sensitive staple foods like plankton disappeared.

      It could even wipe out species through gender mutations.

      "Sex ratios of hatchling turtles are dependent on temperatures and
      increased warmth could potentially lead to all-female populations," the
      report warned, adding that Sperm Whale fertility also reduced with higher
      water temperatures.

      It said global surface temperatures rose by 0.6 degrees centigrade during
      the 20th century, with rainfall rising in mid and high latitudes and seas
      levels rising as ice caps melted.

      The International Panel on Climate Change said global average
      temperatures could surge by nearly six degrees by 2100 with unimaginable

      The report noted that rainfall patterns in Africa were changing -- with
      dire consequences for migratory birds which wintered there as well as for
      the humans that tried to eke out a living in the same areas.

      Sea ice is retreating as well as thinning in the Arctic, diluting the
      salinity of the ocean, which affects the density-driven circulation of
      the earth's oceans, a key element in the determination of the earth's

      Story by Jeremy Lovell
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