Climate Change May Wipe Out Bengal Tigers, UN Analysis Finds
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.
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People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>