Seals and Global Warming
Seals and Warmer Temperatures
When the natural climate out there changes due to global warming, it can definitely affect seals. The majority of them live in the Antarctic Region so as the ice is melting so is their natural habitat. While these changes don’t take place over night, they can be the result of many years of additional temperatures in the area. The seals then have to find ways to adapt. They may not breed as often or they may move to other locations where they can find more food.
Seals depend on the cool air currents to bring in plenty of food for them. When the temperatures get warmer though there is less and less of it. Even though they can dive to great depths, they still struggle to find enough of it. Then the seal population starts to be depleted because there isn’t enough food to go around. Mother’s aren’t healthy enough to feed their pups the amount of milk they need to thrive. More of them end up abandoned as the mother’s leave to find their own source of food.
The fact that their desire to breed can be altered by the warmer temperatures is scary too. When seals don’t have as many offspring as before the numbers of them drop and it is hard for them to go back up. It is also believed that the warmer temperatures can allow different diseases and viruses to attack the seals. This is a huge concern as they can rapidly wipe out huge numbers of seals out there.
Yet these changes in climate and temperature aren’t all bad for other species of seals. Scientists have found that those living in warmer climates including along the coast of Hawaii are breeding more due to the changes. It is believed to take place more with the rain and with the warmer temperatures than in the past. Research also shows that the females are moving further to find food and water. When they are out of the reach of the dominate males they are more receptive to the moves of other males in the group.
This is good news too because it means that there will be more selection in the gene pool for future generations. It isn’t uncommon for a dominate male to breed with up to 25 females in the group per season. This can continue for many years as long as that male holds his status in the group. Adding more variety to the gene pool can help the seals as a species be able to adapt to changes in their natural environment easier.
Movements among entire groups of seals though in drier areas can be due to the lack of fresh water for them to consume. This is a huge problem with climate change, and it can completely alter the natural location where these seals are able to survive. Since they are highly adaptable animals though they continue to move to find water. Many experts though fear that ongoing climate change can make it virtually impossible for groups of seals to continue surviving in large areas that they have called home for decades.
The climate change problem for seals is directly linked to humans. When we take action to change what we release into the environment we will make positive changes for the seals to benefit from. However, it is going to take a very long time to reverse the effects of what has already been done. That is why immediate action needs to be going on. It isn’t just the seals that will benefit from it – humans and all other animals out there will as well.