Sunday, October 28, 2007

Camouflage is failing due to global warming

A common trait of many of the animals of the Arctic is the color white. Rabbits and baby seals are white so that predators cannot see them hiding in the snow. Polar bears and foxes are white so that the rabbits and baby seals can't see them coming toward them in the snow.

However according to a documentary I saw a couple of days ago, that is changing. The documentary specifically mentioned the Arctic Rabbit which scientists are discovering is still changing its color around the time it has always done, but the ground is not yet covered with snow. This is making them easy prey as they stand out clearly against the green and brown tundra.

The fact that the snow is not returning at the usual time is going to affect all the animals who live in the Arctic and other northern regions, whether predator or prey. Global warming is coming too fast for them to adapt.

A rare few may even leave the Arctic to search for prey elsewhere. A polar bear has been documented as leaving its home near the Arctic Sea and has been seen hiking south. I wonder if she could be called a Snow Bird, as many Canadians are labeled who go south for the winter. I can't say that blame her, can you?

Wandering Polar Bear heads south again


Mary said...

Vic Grace,

The animals have to do something to adapt or they are going to become extinct. The Arctic region is quickly melting and the natural habitat for the animals and birds is disappearing at an alarming rate.

Did you know that bees are also vanishing from many areas of the US. I plan on writing on this topic tomorrow.

Thanks for keeping your readers informed. Great job!

Bong (JB) said...


People and animals will adapt to changing climate. We always did and we always will but a lot of species will vanish along the way.

But that picture of a Polar Bear is interesting. Was it taken in the wild, I mean not a escaped Zoo animal? White bears and graveled roads don't click together in my mind. :D

Jeni said...

As always, your post gives some good food for thought. I'd never realized how the animals changed colors by the seasons and that the changing temps could affect their means of camoflage then. Good post.

Leigh Russell said...

Hello Vic
I enjoyed your animal pictures but also found the polar bear on the road surprising. Did you just come across it by chance?
The disappearance of bees is apparently quite a problem as they pollinate crops.
It's all a bit gloomy, but your lovely photos are encouraging.
You're welcome to visit my blog any time. It would be great to hear from you.

Imma (Alice) at I Was Born2Cree8 said...

This is all very sad and disturbing. I find it sad that the world has survived for all these thousands of years, and now in our generation, man has all but signed its death warrant.