In the Real World
Environment and Animal Reproduction
Breeding Ground Destruction: Endangered Species
Reproduction is important for species survival. What would happen if an animal's breeding ground were destroyed? Yep, you guessed it. No breeding grounds means no reproduction, which means no new animals.
This is exactly what is happening to many species because of climate change. Increasing temperatures are changing the landscape of this planet. Places that have stood unchanged for thousands of years are quickly transforming into new types of environments or disappearing completely.
In Australia, loggerhead turtles have to lay their eggs in sand that is a particular temperature for egg development. Cooler temperatures produce male eggs and warmer temperatures produce female eggs. Until now, the turtles have been using the same beaches every year without trouble. In other words, they have been producing a lovely number of male and female turtles. Now, however, the sand at these beaches is becoming too hot. More and more female turtles are being born. Without more male turtles, there will be no reproduction. As we learned at the beginning of the chapter, reproduction is necessary for a species to continue, and now loggerhead turtle numbers have dipped.
A loggerhead sea turtle doing jumping jacks in his aquarium.
The ferocious wolverine is also at risk from increasing temperatures. Wolverines live in cold northern climates. They can only reproduce in a climate with heavy snowfall because they dig their dens under the snow. The winter snow must be deep enough to last until May since it protects the developing offspring. Increasing temperatures in the wolverine's habitat are causing decreased snowfall. The area that provides sufficient snow cover is shrinking. If a wolverine digs a den that melts before the pups are ready they are at risk. Wolverines will have to adapt to decreased snowfall or they will be soon be endangered. If you thought wolverine was just a name of and X-man, then check out this video for some more info about these deadly cuddly creatures.
Increasing temperatures are also putting Emperor penguins at risk. They rely on Antarctic ice for their breeding grounds. Climate change is causing the ice to melt and break apart at faster and faster rates. If this continues, they will have no place to meet their partners and raise their chicks. Some breeding grounds have already become abandoned. If all the ice disappears, there will be no more penguins with happy feet.
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