What does climate change mean for hibernating species?
Each day brings another news bite about the potential effects of climate change on species. Today, National Geographic reported that global warming is creating extinction risks for hibernators. See also, National Geographic (Feb. 2, 2007)(about waking hibernators). Citing ongoing research and numerous biologists, a Feb. 1, 2008 story by Hope Hamashige wrote that a "growing body of evidence suggesting that hibernating animals are waking up earlier—or not going to sleep at all—due to rising temperatures from global warming."
Photo from carnivoreconservation.org
National Geographic is hardly the first, however, to note this possibility. In a Dec. 21, 2006 story, the UK's Independent made a significant news splash by reporting scientific statements that bears have stopped hibernating,. And the National Academy of Sciences reported on the changes in Rocky Mountain species hibernation patterns in a Feb. 15, 2000 article. See, Proceedings of the NAS, David W. Inouye et. al., Climate Change Is Affecting Altitudinal Migrants and Hibernating Species, Vol. 97, No. 4 (Feb. 15, 2000), pp. 1630-1633.