Reply To: Global warming threatens biodiversity

Gland, Switzerland – Whales, dolphins and porpoises are facing increasing threats from climate change, according to a new report published by WWF and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) ahead of the 59th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. The report — Whales in hot water? — highlights the growing impacts of climate change on cetaceans. They range from changes in sea temperature and the freshening of the seawater because of melting ice and increased rainfalls, to sea level rise, loss of icy polar habitats and the decline of krill populations in key areas. Krill — a tiny shrimp-like animal that is dependent on sea ice — is the main source of food for many of the great whales. … “Whales, dolphins and porpoises have some capacity to adapt to their changing environment,” said Mark Simmonds, International Director of Science at WCDS, “but the climate is now changing at such a fast pace that it is unclear to what extent whales and dolphins will be able to adjust, and we believe many populations to be very vulnerable to predicted changes.” Climate change impacts are currently greatest in the Arctic and the Antarctic. According to the report, cetaceans that rely on polar, icy waters for their habitat and food resources, such as belugas, narwhals and bowhead whales, are likely to be dramatically affected by the reduction of sea ice cover.

Disturbed, hungry and lost – climate change impacts on whales – you can download pdf file with the report here.