Even with fires, droughts and floods regularly in the news, it’s difficult to comprehend the human toll of the climate crisis. It’s harder still to understand what a warming world will mean for all the other species we share it with. This is true for even our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – the mammals. From mice to elephants, mammals are being affected by rising global temperatures in positive and negative ways that are hard to keep track of.
Take Svalbard reindeer. In their wintry habitats, rain falling on snow creates impenetrable ice sheets that envelop the vegetation that the reindeer eat. Conditions like these are only set to become more common in the changing climate.
You’d expect this to spell trouble for the species, but a recent study showed that climate change might actually stabilise reindeer populations. Why? Because more rain on snow is likely to cull young or elderly reindeer, easing competition within a reduced population to the benefit of more resilient age groups. MORE
Header image: Reindeer may be more resilient to climate change than first impressions suggest. Credit: Ginger_polina_bublik/Shutterstock.