Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Climate Change May Wipe Out Bengal Tigers, UN Analysis Finds

Animals
Bengal tiger mother with 2-month-old cubs in India. Andy Rouse / Photolibrary / Getty Images Plus

Climate change may wipe out the world's only mangrove-living Bengal tiger population in just 50 years, according to a new analysis conducted by the United Nations.


According to the report, extreme temperatures and sea level rise are threatening a 4,000-square-mile diverse ecosystem known as the Sundarbans. Located in southern coastal Bangladesh, nearly three-quarters of land here is just a few feet above sea level.

"Spanning more than 10,000 square kilometers, the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh and India is the biggest mangrove forest on Earth, and also the most critical area for Bengal tiger survival," said lead-author Sharif Mukul, an assistant professor at Independent University Bangladesh, in a press release earlier this year.

Researchers used framework found in two climatic scenarios as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to compare computer simulations with current distribution data of land-use and landcover factoring in extreme weather events and sea-level rise. They found that climate change will have a "substantial negative impact" on habitats found in low-lying regions — and the animals that call them home.

"Our model predicts that due to the combined effect of climate change and sea-level rise, there will be no suitable Bengal tiger habitat remaining in the Sundarbans by 2070," wrote study authors in Science of the Total Environment.

As The New York Times notes, Panthera tigris tigris are among nearly 500,000 other land species that face similar survival threats. However, as human encroachment and development reduces their major habitat — paired with climate extremes and rising sea levels — Bengal tigers will likely be getting hit with a "double whammy."

The IPCC has reported the very real impacts of human-caused climate change as greenhouse gas emission levels continue to climb beyond historic levels. In particular, tropical Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world and the many endemic threatened species who call it home.

But the authors are quick to note that there is still hope.

"The more of the Sundarbans that can be conserved — via new protected areas and reducing illegal poaching — the more resilient it will be to future climatic extremes and rising sea levels," said study co-author Bill Laurance, adding that enhancing terrestrial protected area coverage, along with monitoring, law enforcement implementation, and building awareness among local residents may help ensure the long-term survival and conservation of local tigers.

Once abundant, the endangered Bengal tigers are now mainly confined to small regions of India and Bangladesh with just over 2,500 left in the world. The largest predator found across the continent has seen its populations drop by 96 percent from almost 100,000 individuals at the turn of the 20th century due to habitat loss, hunting and illegal trade of tiger parts.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less