Endangered Animals in the Tundra
The area between the North Pole and the forests of Taiga is called Tundra. Tundra is characterized by frigid temperatures, limited precipitation, poor soil, and a short growing season. It is a treeless region where survival is tough in the best of conditions.
The tundra biome supports a great diversity and density of life. Despite the harshness of climate, and limited resources, it is home to a large number of animals. Many animals either hibernate, or migrate to other regions during winter. Only some hardiest animals remain active, and reside in the arctic region throughout the year.
In summer, tundra is home to many species of migratory birds, where they rear their young. Stellers and Spectacled eiders have a nesting ground in the Northeast Siberian coastal tundra. Rock hopper penguins, Southern giant petrels, and many other threatened species of birds frequently visit the islands of Southern Indian Ocean, which have tundra-like climate.
Here, we discuss about some endangered animals in the tundra:
Arctic Fox: Two species of arctic fox are at risk of being endangered. One species in Russia is near extinction because of an infestation of mange, which is caused by parasites spread by dogs. The other species of arctic fox in Fennoscandia, which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula, are threatened by fur hunters.
Caribou: They are found in the Queen Elizabeth Islands of northern Canada, and the Northwestern coast of Greenland. They are endangered due to loss of their diet. Increased precipitation due to rising temperatures have caused the mosses and lichens, which are an important part of their winter diet, to be buried in thick layers of snow. The availability of food in summer has also decreased, which threatens their existence.
Moreover, the human destructive activities in the form of explorations for natural gas and oil, mining, road building, and hunting have caused a habitat loss to Caribou to make them endangered animals.
Musk Ox: They were once considered endangered animals as they numbered only 500 in 1917. They have recovered since then, and are no longer endangered animals. Today, their population has reached to more than 40,000.
Polar Bear: The red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has included Polar bears in the endangered animals category. They are primarily endangered due to the climate change, which is melting the snow. This has endangered their habitat, and created a shortage of food. Their main prey is seals, which are becoming fewer in numbers due to less ice.
The possibility of widespread climate change due to global warming has created one of the biggest threats to the tundra wildlife. The melting of snow in the tundra region will decrease the hunting efficacy of Polar bears, and will severely threaten the habitat of Caribou and other arctic animals.
Therefore, global warming has emerged as a monster, which has a threatening effect on climate change. It is important to check the causes of global warming, which is threatening the existence of endangered animals in the tundra.