Biologists hail the comeback of Northern elephant seals, once hunted to near extinction for their oil-rich blubber, as one of conservation’s great successes. Now, they’re scrambling to protect the rebounding population’s habitat from rising seas.
Concern about how climate change affects food security usually focuses on agriculture in resource-poor countries. But disruptions to weather patterns threaten food supplies for wildlife too.
Mountain lions and wolves have suffered from our ignorance ever since pioneers inundated their wilderness homes. But an emerging view of mountain lions’ unique ecological role is coming into focus.
Most songbirds head south for the winter, as food supplies disappear, returning to breed in the spring, when booming insect populations can satisfy clamoring broods. Not crossbills. This colorful finch, which inhabits coniferous forests around the world, breeds most anytime thanks to a highly specialized beak that can extract seeds from pine cones throughout the year. But, for a newly discovered crossbill species, this custom-made tool may prove useless if climate change claims its favorite food.
The tiny raptors have been known to outfit their burrows with foam, rubber window insulation, cigarette butts, tin foil, spaceman toys and Barbie doll parts.
Burrowing owls have proven remarkably adaptable to human landscapes. But we’re constantly reshaping the environment in ways that limit their nesting options including the eradication of the very animals they depend on for their homes.