People, Environment

11 Species Threatened by Climate Change

11 Species Threatened by Climate Change11 Species Threatened by Climate Change

While world leaders fret over how best to combat climate change, many animals and plants are already feeling the effects.

CBS News has listed the following 11 species, chosen by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s climate change specialist group, as under threat from global warming:

1- Ivory gulls, whose numbers in the Canadian Arctic have dropped by 80%, are seeing their foraging habitat shrink rapidly due to global warming.

2- The lemuroid ringtail possum is restricted to two small areas of upland cloud rainforest in the Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Unable to tolerate temperatures above 28° C and sensitive to heat waves, the rare white form of the species is predicted to disappear this century.

3- Ringed seals, which live in Arctic Sea ice habitats year-round, are in rapid decline as ice melts. They are born in snow lairs, mate under sea ice and use sea ice as resting platform in other seasons of the year. They feed largely on ice-associated prey.

4- The lungless frog of Borneo lives much of its life in fast and cold streams and rivers in Indonesia. As waters warm and the oxygen rates decline, the frog could find these waterways uninhabitable. Climate change is also expected to bring more floods and droughts to the region, which could impact the frog.

5- The quiver tree in Namibia and in the Northern Cape of South Africa thrives in desert and semi-desert climatic conditions. Known for its large succulent leaves and a water-storing system, the tree could wither in the north and central parts of its range as temperatures rise.

6- Golden bowerbirds have a small range in Queensland rainforests. Their habitats are severely fragmented. They continue to decrease in number by 10% in 10 years or three generations.

7- Found only on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the amazing plant of Haleakala silversword is restricted to high elevations on the dormant Haleakala volcano. Shifting weather patterns and particularly increased temperature and decrease in rainfall are causing adult plants to die, and reducing the survival of new seedlings.

8- As global warming reshapes the Antarctic coast, the Adelie penguin could be one of the many species suffering the loss of sea ice coverage that is expected to negatively impact its annual migration and winter survival.

9- Elegant frog is a small microhylid that lives only on the tip of a single mountain top in the Australia Wet Tropics cloud forest. It lays its eggs in leaf litters. The eggs hatch directly into small frogs. With longer and harsher dry seasons and potential declines in rainfall, this species is potentially in deep trouble.

10- African lungfish is a carnivorous fish that feeds on mollusks, frogs, fish, crabs and insects. When its habitat dries up, the fish secretes a thin slime that helps it survive in the dry condition. But as precipitation patterns shift with climate change, African lungfish may not be able to survive extended periods of drought in flood plains.

11- The number of polar bears in parts of Alaska and Canada has declined by almost half, as thinning sea ice makes it increasingly difficult for them to hunt down seals, which are a key part of their diet. Scientists, led by researchers at the US Geological Survey, have found polar bear numbers in the southern Beaufort Sea dropped by 40%, to 900, from 2000 to 2010.