Select Page

Six animal species and how they are affected by climate change

By Marike Lauwrens 9 months ago

Climate change has become an every day term in today’s day and age. But have you thought about what this phenomenon means in reality? Changes in temperature might not seem dramatic, but we are already seeing devastating results:

• Some islands no longer exist.
• The occurrence of natural disasters is increasing.
• A number of stunning destinations are on the brink of vanishing.
• And sadly, wildlife are increasingly under threat due to changing ecosystems and habitat loss.

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 favorable climatic areas, their fate might be sealed. Learn more about six animal species, and how they are affected by climate change.


The African cheetah is the world’s fastest animal but is losing the race against climate change. Their prey is also suffering and as a result, the cheetahs have had to change their diets.

A rise in temperatures has also 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.

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


are cheetahs endangered

Giant panda bears

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.


why are pandas endangered

Photo: Pete Markham

Green turtles

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 will more likely produce female turtles and with an increase in global warming there might be more females than males. This threatens the turtles’ genetic diversity and survival.

Help to protect this endangered species with GVI in Thailand and Costa Rica.


sea turtle facts

Asian 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 counteract this need. It also creates favorable conditions for invasive plants to thrive and outmatch the elephants’ regular food sources.

Help Asian elephants thrive as a volunteer in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


volunteer with elephants

Polar bears

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.


how much does a polar bear weigh

Photo: Christopher Michel

Adélie penguins

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.


Adélie penguin

Photo: nomis-simon

GVI is an international award-winning volunteer organisation. Learn about our wildlife and marine conservation projects and internships in 20 locations around the world.