Move or adapt
To survive, plants, animals and birds confronted with climate change have two options:
Option one – ADAPT: With the speed of climate change we are experiencing already, it’s often not possible for a species to adapt quickly enough to keep up with its changing environment.
Option two – MOVE: With the amount of habitat destruction, dam building, roads and cities expanding, moving is becoming increasingly difficult.
Some species are left without workable options for dealing with climate change which means they could disappear in places where they once thrived, or even go completely extinct. A recent study in Science found that one in six species is at risk of extinction because of climate change – if we do nothing about it.
Four ways an orangutan could be affected by climate change
- Less or different food: changes in weather patterns and increased rainfall will influence the growth of plants that are an orangutan’s preferred food choice.
- Fewer babies: if food supplies diminish a female orangutans reproductive system could be affected.
- Fatalities from forest fires: we are still counting the losses to orangutan populations of the 2015 forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra, during which an estimated 2 million hectares of forest was destroyed. Extreme drought spells caused by climate change are likely to lead to more fires.
- Death and injury from mudslides are floods: already threatened by deforestation and poaching, orangutans may also need to escape landslides and floods caused by increased rainfall. Climate change models suggest by 2025 rainfall is likely to increase significantly.
Don’t wait for it to happen, take control.
Read more about which other iconic species could be lost because of climate change in the WWF Climate Change and Species Report 2015. Behind the disappearance of iconic animals, such as tigers. elephants and orangutans lie drastic changes to their environments. The fate of these species is just the visible face of more profound phenomena likely to have a powerful impact on living conditions for humans on Earth.
Encourage world leaders to make a stand against climate change at the Paris Summit. Tweet your Leader today and show them you care about our planet and that you depend on them to act now to make a better tomorrow for all of us.
Help WWF-Singapore provide support to Indonesia to restore habitat lost in recent fires, put in place fire prevention measures and improve education and awareness about the causes of fires. Make a donation to WWF-Singapore’s Emergency Appeal for Indonesia.