Wildlife Need Help Surviving Climate Change Impacts

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   August 6, 2009
Contact:   Kathleen O'Neil, NPCA Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717


Wildlife Need Help Surviving Climate Change Impacts

NPCA Report Recommends Adaptation Strategies for National Parks

Wildlife and public lands need help surviving the conditions caused by climate change, such as droughts, warmer temperatures, and loss of habitat. A new report by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) recommends strategies to help wildlife adapt, including providing land corridors and reducing stress from pollution and invasive species.

“The effects of climate change on wildlife are already visible in our national parks. If we don’t begin to act, many species may go extinct,” said Mark Wenzler, director of clean air and climate programs at NPCA.

As the NPCA report illustrates, climate change is causing shifts in habitat ranges that are challenging species from loons to bighorn sheep and salmon. The nominee for National Park Service (NPS) director, Jon Jarvis, has said that climate change could be the greatest threat the National Park Service has ever faced in its almost 100-year history.

NPCA’s new report recommends five strategies to address this threat and help national park wildlife adapt to climate change:

• Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
• Reducing threats to wildlife from pollution, invasive species and disease that make them more vulnerable to climate change impacts
• Giving wildlife access to corridors and other undeveloped areas where they can find new habitat
• Training national parks’ managers to plan for climate change, coordinating with other federal agencies, and funding adaptation work, having park staff educate other agencies
• Developing and expanding programs within the national parks that engage their millions of visitors in becoming part of the solution to climate change.

“Climate changes that harm wildlife – depriving them of food, water and shelter – will ultimately harm us,” said Danielle Blank, senior coordinator in NPCA’s Yellowstone Field Office. “The steps we take to protect wildlife will also provide tremendous benefits to rural communities throughout the west which depend on healthy natural resources.”

The climate and energy bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, and another being considered by the Senate, would provide funding for public land agencies, including NPS, to increase their planning and activities to help protect wildlife and public lands from the effects of climate change.

“Over the next month, we call upon the Senate to support this legislation that will make protection of our nation’s wildlife a priority,” said Wenzler.

A copy of “Climate Change & National Park Wildlife: A Survival Guide for a Warming World” is available on NPCA’s website at http://www.npca.org/survivalguide.

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