Rare Hawaiian birds are at risk because of climate change, says a recent study published in PLOS ONE. Previous research on climate change has warned that its effects will influence all living things on earth but scientists have now that Hawaii’s rare and endangered birds are in danger of losing up to half of their natural habitat by the year 2100.
- Rare Hawaiian birds are in danger of extinction because of habitat loss and disease
- A recent study reports climate change will lead to the loss of habitat for the Hawaiian birds
- Mosquitoes carrying diseases are also endangering the birds.
The species have now been found to be at risk of soon becoming extinct as a result of the disappearance of this high-elevation habitat due to climate change. Besides losing this important space, the rare birds are also at risk because of outbreaks of disease which they will be affected by.
Rare Hawaiian birds have been threatened by the loss of habitat for many years but the study conducted by Dr. Lucas Fortini at USGS warns that, although the birds are not doomed, they will be lost if precautions are not taken to prevent the loss of habitat from happening.
He went on to state that things do look dire for the birds at the moment and that the spread of disease to the limited number of refuges left uphill is problematic. This, combined with the ill effects that the change in climate will bring along with it, is threatening to drive the rare birds to extinction by the year 2100.
The researchers have also discovered that, due to the decreased population of mosquitoes carrying diseases in the high altitude Hawaiian forests, these places are still viable habitats for the birds, as they are less exposed to infection in these locations.
The study also states that, should the proper conditions be maintained in these scarce locations, the remaining populations of forest birds may be able to continue to live there. Whilst these auspicious conditions exist the species can survive.
However, the study also warns that, with the rise of global temperatures caused by climate change, there is a chance that these forests will soon be warmed by the phenomenon. Because of this, climate change will harm the rare Hawaiian birds as it will make the forests uninhabitable.
Scientists now urge that conservationist efforts include long term plans for the prevention of malaria transmission and the lowering of the mortality rates caused by it, as many birds are affected by the virus. Possible solutions for fixing these problems include genetic control of both the mosquitoes and the birds as well as a form of vector control.
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