Polar Bear
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Climate Change

Help Us Slow Climate Change

Human activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere, accelerating the rate of global climate change. As our climate is now changing more rapidly than ever before, so are regional climates, environments, and habitats. Impacts of global climate change include altered precipitation patterns, more intense storms, flooding, drought, and wildfires.

As animals, pathogens, and disease vectors shift their distribution in response to changing climatic conditions, we know that changes in disease transmission patterns are changing, too. As average temperatures increase, disease vectors such as mosquitoes will move into areas that were once too cold for them to develop.

 

polar bear mom and cub on ice

 

Polar Bears in the Arctic Sea

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and as sea ice shrinks, polar bears increasingly face a world where it is difficult for them to gather enough food to survive. Their habitat is literally melting away. Evidence shows that loss of sea ice is correlated with declines in a polar bear’s body condition, reproductive success, and survival.

Shrinking sea ice is causing some polar bear populations to gradually shift to more terrestrial food sources. These changes in foraging behavior are also changing the disease exposure dynamics for polar bears, resulting in an increasing prevalence of terrestrial diseases, such as those of domestic dogs.

 

young koala on a branch

 

Koalas in the Australian Forest

As climates change, we see an increase in drought and wildfires—as evidenced by the devastating, 2019–2020 megafires in Australia. When fire destroys trees and plants, dozens of wildlife species lose shelter and food sources. Animals that manage to escape the fires often fall victim to starvation, dehydration, exposure, or opportunistic predators. The fires are a reminder that koalas rely on leafy eucalyptus trees for food, shade, and shelter. If eucalyptus forests disappear, koalas will too.

The San Diego Zoo was home to the first koalas outside of Australia, and today our assurance colony helps maintain a genetically diverse global population as a safeguard against events like devastating wildfires in their native habitats.

 

Join us – Be an Ally For Wildlife!

Help slow the rate of climate change by reducing fossil fuel use. Here are some ideas:

  • Ride your bike, walk, or take public transportation instead of driving.

  • Wash full loads of laundry in cold water, and hang it outside to dry.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

  • Take your own reusable bags to the grocery store and reusable cups to coffee shops.

  • Reduce food waste.

  • Talk about it! Start a conversation about climate change.

  • UN site for actions kids can take

  • Carbon footprint calculator

Sign Our Pledge

Earth is facing great environmental threats from the effects of climate change. As an ally of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, I pledge to take action to ensure that all life thrives. I commit to take steps to reduce my carbon footprint by decreasing my electricity and gas use and switching to clean energy options when possible. I will share my successes with friends and family and urge them to join me in my efforts.

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