Not Just the Polar Bear: Ten American Species Feeling the Heat from Climate Change

A new report, America’s Hottest Species, highlights a variety of American wildlife that is currently threatened by climate change from a small bird to a coral reef to the world’s largest marine turtle.

"Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence," said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition which produced the report. "Polar bears, lynx, salmon, coral and many other endangered species are already feeling the heat."


The report includes:
1) the Kaua'i Creeper, or 'Akikiki, which is endemic to the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i. With warming temperatures conservationists are concerned that its habitat will be overrun by non-native mosquitoes carrying Avian malaria. Because mosquitoes were only introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 19th Centuries, these birds have no natural resistance to their diseases.

2) Elkhorn coral was once dominant in Floridian and Caribbean waters, but this species has been decimated (dropping by 90 percent) due to disease and warming waters which cause coral bleaching. Higher temperature cause vital algae to abandon the coral, leaving them open to disease and sometimes mortality. Coral reefs are one of the world's most threatened organisms due to climate change.

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