A major report has warned that many species of animals are under threat due to the growing impact of climate change.
Time is running out for many species, warn experts, as temperatures continue to rise and habitat and food supplies decline.
Research, supported by Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, calls for better monitoring, to see just how vulnerable many animals are.
The alert comes after the United Nations warned the earth has only 12 years to control global warming before it causes devastation and widespread poverty.
There is growing evidence that climate change will lead to extinction for some species, from rising sea levels destroying habitats, to shifts in the availability of food.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature report believes that a full assessment of the threats various species face from climate change needs to be done, so that conservation schemes can get underway to save these animals.
“With species around the world increasingly impacted by climate change, we urgently need reliable ways to measure their vulnerability – only then will we be able to identify the most threatened,” said lead author Wendy Foden, chair of the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group.
“Climate change impacts on species vary greatly; this paper provides practical guidance on how to measure their overall vulnerability in a way that is thorough and comparable, from the tundra to equatorial rainforests.
“Understanding what makes species vulnerable ensures that conservation efforts are as targeted and effective as possible.”
Neville Williams, trustee of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation and member of the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group, added: “Many species are under direct threat from climate change and the UN report shows clearly the devastating impact the earth faces.
“We wanted to make sure that the danger it poses to animal species is fully explored and understood so that we can save them as well as the earth.
“We supported and funded the report as part of our commitment to animal conservation which stretches from our work at the park to projects around the world.
“The YWPF is proud to help fund this vital work.”
The report, backed by 18 IUCN scientists, featured expertise from across six continents, most ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, and a broad range of species groups, from mammals to plants and insects.
Its findings will help researchers collect relevant data on vulnerability so that clear conservation strategies can be devised to neutralise the worst impacts of global warming.