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Cyclic Behavior of Animals

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Where's My Snow Den?
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Where's My Snow Den?

A wolverine (Gulo gulo)

Topic

Climate Change Effects On Wildlife

Student Exploration

So What Do We Do?

Climate change is a major issue facing humans today. People can argue over the cause and pattern of change, but it is clear that our planet's climate doesn't care about our arguments and is changing. For wildlife, these changes present many problems. Their biomes are changing and with them their resources. In the past, one way animals would deal with these sorts of changes was to immigrate to a new location if they could. The freedom to change where you are living can be an immediate and effective way to deal with environmental change. Unfortunately, this time humans have made such adaptations problematic. Humans have taken up a lot of space and disrupted key habitats, essentially limiting where wildlife can live and how much freedom wildlife has to move between habitats. Fortunately, people have been thinking about how to solve this problem.

Now that you have a sense of the problem, find out more about why "wildlife corridors" may provide some help.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. How are some animals responding to climate change? How do you think climate change is affecting the biomes in which these animals live?
  2. Would you expect low latitude animals to be more disrupted by climate change than high latitude animals? Why or why not? Explain your thinking fully.
  3. How has climate change started to affect wolverines (Gulo gulo)? Can you think of a way wolverines may adapt to these changes? Do you think all wolverines dig snow dens of equal depth?
  4. What are two proposed ways to help wildlife deal with climate change? Which one of these two is easier to implement?
  5. How accurate are predictions of future climate change? What makes this a very complex situation? What happens to the accuracy of models when they are used to project farther and farther into the future?

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