Rats in the Pattisaul Lab at NC State University.
Rats in the Pattisaul Lab at NC State University. Part of the controversy over BPA has to do with levels of exposure in animals vs humans. Image courtesy Pattisaul Lab, NCSU

By Nyaira Danley

Global warming and climate change have been an exceedingly tricky thing that we have been battling for years. We humans face many challenges, and some can be severe.

If the environment that we enjoy as humans can be severely damaged, how do you think the wildlife are affected?

Many reports have shown a drastic decrease in small animals in the environment.

Small animals have a major impact on the environment. Perhaps just as much or possibly more than the larger animals do.

Ron Sutherland a wildlife conservationist with WIldlands Network, said “…for the red Wolf species…the population has gone from like 80 down to about 10.”

Sutherland also said it has been a tough couple of years for conservationists because they have been losing on many “fronts” all at once.

It can be understandable that protecting wildlife is lower on some priority lists as people die from hurricanes, other storms, wildfires and disease.

Still Sutherland wants people to think about some of the things they can do.

He suggests capturing some animals, nurturing them and making sure they are healthy before releasing them back into the wild.

Kelli Applegate, a wildlife scientist, gave some insight into how climate affects wildlife, too.

One thing she said that I found really interesting was that teenagers are the main key to helping our environment, and she has a great point.

The youth of this era are going to have to take care of us in the future so it’s very important that we learn that we need to take care of the place we live in.

She also said that one of the main reasons small animals are affected by climate change is because when the weather changes drastically their food options change, too.

“They’re facing more stressors, from this extreme heat and cold,” Applegate told me.

The animals that are supposed to live in hot regions aren’t supposed to be living cold weather. Basic knowledge.

While giving us this information she also gives us ways to prevent toxic waste in the animal’s environment.

Applegate says to always recycle. This is probably one of the easiest ways to go about protecting the environment.

She also suggests that we stop using single-use plastics because they never really get recycled properly. An alternative you could try is using reusable cups and straws.

One suggestion that I think is quite major is putting up policies to protect wildlife. There may be some already set up, but I think they could be enforced better.

Kelli was gracious enough to offer some web links that you could go to so you can do your own research and learn how important our environment is. I hope you can take time out of your day and help save our animals.

Coastal Youth Media reporter and resident animal-lover Nyaira Danley, from Jacksonville, NC speaks to conservationists and forest rangers about how climate change is affecting small wildlife in a big way.