For Immediate Release
Kathleen O’Neil, NPCA Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717
Wildlife Need Help Surviving Climate Change Impacts
NPCA Report Recommends Adaptation Strategies for National Parks
WASHINGTON - Wildlife and public lands need help surviving the conditions
caused by climate change, such as droughts, warmer temperatures, and
loss of habitat. A new report by the National Parks Conservation
Association (NPCA) recommends strategies to help wildlife adapt,
including providing land corridors and reducing stress from pollution
and invasive species.
“The effects of climate change on wildlife are already visible in our national parks. If we don’t begin to act, many species may go extinct,” said Mark Wenzler, director of clean air and climate programs at NPCA.
As the NPCA report illustrates, climate change is causing shifts in
habitat ranges that are challenging species from loons to bighorn sheep
and salmon. The nominee for National Park Service (NPS) director, Jon
Jarvis, has said that climate change could be the greatest threat the
National Park Service has ever faced in its almost 100-year history.
NPCA’s new report recommends five strategies to address this threat and help national park wildlife adapt to climate change:
• Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
• Reducing threats to
wildlife from pollution, invasive species and disease that make them
more vulnerable to climate change impacts
• Giving wildlife access to corridors and other undeveloped areas where they can find new habitat
national parks’ managers to plan for climate change, coordinating with
other federal agencies, and funding adaptation work, having park staff
educate other agencies
• Developing and expanding programs within
the national parks that engage their millions of visitors in becoming
part of the solution to climate change.
“Climate changes that harm wildlife – depriving them of food, water
and shelter – will ultimately harm us,” said Danielle Blank, senior
coordinator in NPCA’s Yellowstone Field Office. “The steps we take to
protect wildlife will also provide tremendous benefits to rural
communities throughout the west which depend on healthy natural
The climate and energy bill passed by the U.S. House of
Representatives, and another being considered by the Senate, would
provide funding for public land agencies, including NPS, to increase
their planning and activities to help protect wildlife and public lands
from the effects of climate change.
“Over the next month, we call upon the Senate to support this
legislation that will make protection of our nation’s wildlife a
priority,” said Wenzler.
A copy of “Climate Change & National Park Wildlife: A Survival Guide for a Warming World” is available on NPCA’s website at http://www.npca.org/survivalguide.
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NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.