Why Are Antarctic Animals in Danger?

Why Are Antarctic Animals in Danger?

Antarctica has the coldest recorded climate in the world. A thick, substantial sheet of ice covers all but a insignificant 2.4% of the continent’s 14 million square kilometres. This exceptional inner of ice is on average 7000 ft thick and contains 70% of the world’s fresh water. With the average monthly temperatures never surpassing 0°F, this icy desert makes for a very harsh living ecosystem. As such, very few Antarctic animals survive above the water all year round. With this in mind, it is comparatively surprising to find that beneath its frigid exterior thrives an ecosystem complete of variety.

Unfortunately, the damage done to our ozone inner has had a serious effect on this fragile ecosystem. The holes formed in the stratosphere (a inner in the earth’s air) cause a worldwide effect known as Global Warming. The ozone inner protects us from the unhealthy UV rays found in our outer air. When it is irreparably damaged, our world’s climates start to change. Unfortunately for the Antarctic animals, one of the most noticeable changes happens to be occurring in their habitats.

The atmospheric temperatures are changing, and as a consequence, the ice sheet that makes up 98% of the continent is melting. As it melts, the halting cold water mixes with the surrounding oceans, changing its temperature and salt levels. This is possibly the worst thing that could happen to this delicate ecosystem. The plants and animals that depend on this ecosystem are unable to adapt fast enough to the changing climate and more and more of them are at risk of endangerment. Some of the animals in that ecosystem are extremely sensitive to their ecosystem and cannot survive in water that changes by already a single degree.

As these animals attempt to adapt to these new changes, they disrupt the ecosystem already more. Some will try to find different feeding or mating grounds, while others will be unable to adapt and be left to die out. If already one of these animals changes its long-established patterns, the ecosystem would be upset. Similarly, the loss of a species would also be extremely detrimental to that ecosystem. As the population of larger Antarctic animals diminishes, their prey would alternately prosper due to a without of predators and then diminish due to a without of food for their increased numbers. If were to happen to both predators and prey all throughout the ecosystem, the network would be irreparably damaged forever.

In the recent past, humans believed that the best method of protecting these threatened and abundant species was to place a calculated number of them into captivity. Unfortunately, as before stated, not many of them are able to adapt to a new ecosystem, and those few who can adapt are rarely able to be reintroduced to the wild. Also, those offspring born into captivity without some of the basic skills of survival, as they learn from birth to rely not on their instincts, but on their captors.

This tends to rule to problems when they attempt to release them in the wild. The average life span of Antarctic animals that are captured or born in captivity is considerably less than those in the wild. As a consequence, holding them in captivity can sometimes reduce their expected life span to the point that not enough of them mature to an age in which they are able to copy. Without a balance between the number of deaths and the number of births, a species will quickly become extinct. You can read more about the plight of the Antarctic animals at http://www.butwhy.com.au/why-are-antarctic-animals-in-danger

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