By: Ojaswee Chaudhary
The arctic is one of the most diverse and unique regions of the world covering the span of about 8 countries and inhabits close to 13 million people. It is rich with various exotic wildlife such as the animal of legends, reindeer, the adorable polar bear, the unicorn of the seas, the narwhal, and many, many more. These precious animals are heavily affected by the rising problem of climate change. Climate change includes the increase in the average temperature of the entire world, courtesy to pollution and the misuse of the Earth’s natural resources. Each animal mentioned above has been, and still is, being harmed by climate change in specific ways.
Let’s begin with the narwhals, who are heavily, HEAVILY affected by climate change. They are, in fact, one of the first to be harmed. Climate change causes sudden shifts of temperature in the Arctic. While narwhals are swimming, the water surrounding them could start to freeze up causing the sea animal to be trapped. Narwhals either die of starvation in the traps or are eaten by polar bears. Trapped narwhals also attract humans, who want the animal’s well-known tusk, which resembles the horn of a unicorn. Increased human attraction causes more boat activity which increases the likelihood of oil spills. On the other hand, warmer temperatures in water attract killer whales, the number one predator of narwhals.
There has been a major decline of land, food, and shelter in the arctic for these animals because of climate change. Reindeer lavishly feed on a specific plant called lichen in the winter season. As temperature increases lichen disappears, obviously causing the animal to die out. Warmer winters also means more rain and precipitation which eventually refreezes the reindeers’ vegetation.
Narwhals, reindeer, and polar bears are just a few endangered animals being harmed by climate change. And this, is mainly all because of humans. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which we create by burning our natural resources, fill the air and block heat from going to space as it should. By reducing the use of cars, electricity, and other causes of greenhouse gases, we can make a difference and save the animals that share our home, the planet Earth.