Climate Change and Wildlife

Climate change poses one of the single greatest threats to wildlife and to the conservation efforts we have undertaken to date. Regardless of how much we are able to reduce emissions, the impacts that climate change is having—and will continue to have—on wildlife and habitat must be addressed.

Climate change is altering, shrinking and destroying habitat, forcing wildlife to migrate or adapt.  In some cases, it is threatening animals' very existence.  Climate change also places at risk the life-sustaining services that natural systems provide our communities, such as the water we drink, the air we breathe, the medicines we use, the food we eat and the forests and fisheries we depend on.

In response to the serious threat of climate change, Defenders of Wildlife supports passage of legislation that takes immediate steps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the root cause of climate change. Regardless of how much we are able to reduce emissions, the impacts of climate change are already being felt on the ground.  We must work to protect our wildlife and natural resources from these impacts and ensure that they can survive in a warming world.  Defenders therefore supports enactment of the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act, which would help reduce current and future impacts of global warming on wildlife and habitat.  Protecting wildlife in a warming world cannot wait.

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Where We Work
Our Southwest team works to protect rare and threatened species like Mexican wolves, jaguars and ocelots.
Sonoran Pronghorn, Florin Chelaru
Fact Sheet
Known as "prairie ghosts" because they are so elusive, the Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) is the fastest land mammal in North America. Smaller and lighter in color than other pronghorn subspecies, it is uniquely adapted for survival in harsh arid conditions.
Wolverine, Kalon Baughan
Fact Sheet
Called "skunk bear" by the Blackfeet Indians, the wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. It has a broad head, small eyes and short rounded ears.