Climate Change
Coral reef, © Jim Maragos/USFWS
Polar bear, © Tom Schneider

Impacts of Climate Change

Wildlife and habitats across the country are already feeling the effects of climate change.

These effects include:

  • Higher water and air temperatures that are lethal to temperature-sensitive species like salmon, coral and pikas
  • Melting snow, glaciers and sea ice that provide habitat for polar bears, wolverines and other snow and ice-dependent species, as well as species that depend on the water runoff that “normal” snow and glaciers provide
  • More storms, floods and droughts that damage habitat
  • Rising sea levels that flood coastal areas where vulnerable species like sea turtles and shorebirds live
  • Changes in plant and animal interactions that can lead to mismatches with negative consequences, like flowers blooming before pollinating insects emerge

Learn about the ways that changes in our climate are affecting wildlife in different regions today, and what we can expect to see in the future. 

More on Climate Change: Defenders in Action »

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Our Southwest team works to protect rare and threatened species like Mexican wolves, jaguars and ocelots.
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Fact Sheet
Called "skunk bear" by the Blackfeet Indians, the wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. It has a broad head, small eyes and short rounded ears.