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Six animal species and how they are affected by climate change

By Marike Lauwrens 7 months ago
six animal species affected by climate change

Climate change has become an everyday term as more people become aware of it. But have you thought about what this phenomenon means in reality? Changes in temperature might not seem extensive, but we are already seeing dramatic results in many areas:

In practice, climate change affects animal species in the following ways:

  • Climate patterns change and animals have to adapt accordingly.
  • Animals experience habitat loss due to increased greenhouse emissions.
  • Animals have to alter their breeding and feeding patterns in order to survive.

If these animal species can’t migrate to more favourable climatic areas, their fate might be sealed. Learn more about six animal species, and how they are affected by climate change.

1) Cheetahs

are cheetahs endangered


The African cheetah is the world’s fastest animal but is racing against its against near-threatened status in the face of climate change. In some areas, the cheetahs’ prey populations are declining, and as a result, the cheetahs have had to change their diets.

A rise in temperatures has affected this big cat’s ability to reproduce. Male cheetahs have shown lowered testosterone levels and a sperm count almost ten times lower than your house cat.

A rapid decline in free-ranging cheetahs means resources are being used to study and preserve these master survivors in managed parks. For example, GVI volunteers gather data in Karongwe.

Help to conserve this big cat as part of GVI’s Cheetah conservation and research project in South Africa.

2) Giant panda bears

why are pandas endangered

Original photo: “San Diego Trip – June 2014” by Pete Markham is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


This iconic bear and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) trademark feeds exclusively on bamboo, but unfortunately, climate change is causing a major wipe-out of bamboo in their natural habitat in China. Apart from being the bears’ staple diet, bamboo also provides them with shelter from the elements.

3) Green turtles

green sea turtle facts


Green turtles are very sensitive to changes in temperatures.

A baby turtle’s gender depends on the temperature of the sand where the eggs are laid. The warmer areas produce female turtles. With climate change causing an increase in temperatures, more females than males will hatch.  

You can support the protection of this endangered species by joining GVI’s endangered turtle conservation and research program in Thailand, or you can travel to Costa Rica to be part of conserving hawksbills, leatherbacks, and green sea turtles.

4) Asian elephants

volunteer with elephants


These gentle giants are particularly sensitive to high temperatures. In order to survive, they need to drink a great amount of fresh water daily.

Climate changes and global warming makes it more difficult for elephants to get the water they need. Warmer temperatures also create favorable conditions for invasive plants to thrive and outmatch the elephants’ regular food sources.

You can join GVI to conserve Asian elephants as a volunteer in Thailand.

5) Polar bears

polar bears are affected by climate change

Original photo: “Polar Bears on Thin Ice” by Christopher Michel is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Climate change and global warming result in less Arctic sea ice for the bears to hunt seals on. This reduces their access to food sources and threatens their habitat and overall survival.

6) Adélie penguins

Adélie penguins are affected by climate change

Original photo: “Antartica” by nomis-simon is licensed under CC BY 2.0


These birds live in the Antarctic and feed on krill (found under the ice sheets).

As the ice melts, krill populations decrease and the penguins have to migrate from their natural habitat in an attempt to find alternative food sources. This influences their breeding patterns negatively.

GVI is an international award-winning volunteer organisation that contributes to robust scientific research. You can join us on various wildlife and marine conservation projects and internships in locations around the world.