The perils of man’s negligence on the crumbling world of wildlife.

Their world is melting around them. Entrapped by their surroundings, their horizons are shrinking by the day, leaving them stranded at the outskirts of their own home. Out of an inborn sense of survival, polar bears are gathering their cubs and are silently embarking on long, perilous swims of up to 12 days. Many will drown on the way.  Few will make it to isolated patches of offshore Arctic sea ice.  But these too, will disappear by the middle of the century.

For millions of species around the world, global warming is not a myth. Climate change has become the most vicious enemy to both predators and their prey, from the mammals perched on the highest platforms to the fish swimming in the deepest waters.

The Earth’s ecosystem is under increasing strain. A new report on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that rising temperatures are causing wildlife to migrate erratically: “Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic Sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease.”

800px-Lake_Manyara_WildlifeThe findings point towards man’s interference with the natural world as the main culprit. “Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global sea level rise and in changes in some climate extremes.” Continual emissions of greenhouse gases have been cited as one of the main problems.

This, coupled with habitat destruction, rampant wildfires, incessant culling and illegal wildlife trade are hacking away at our planet’s biodiversity at an alarming rate.

The self-sustaining nature of wildlife has seen species react to their constricting environments by shifting everything from their breeding and hunting patterns to engaging in mile-long journeys in search for a better habitat.

The African Conservancy approximates that given the current rate of extinction, as many as 20% of the world’s species could vanish in the next 30 years.

In a policy that advocates swift action from the European Council, the Green Growth Group Ministers urged the implementation of an “effective 2030 climate and energy framework”. This should include a domestic greenhouse gas target of at least 40%.

Meanwhile, the Earth is rapidly shifting from beneath our feet. Documentaries such as Planet Earth, which have stunned us with their depiction of unsuspected wilderness, might soon turn into remnants of a long-lost reality. We are truly living in an increasingly smaller world – a world dwindling under our own weight.

Eva Grey, Correspondent (Our World)

Image Courtesy: By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image Courtesy: By Gaurav Pandit (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons