As the planet warms, species are on the move. The phenomenon has been observed in oceans, with fish populations shifting to the poles, and on land, with creatures moving to higher elevations in search of cool. Many species are struggling for survival in shrinking habitats.
And here in Ontario, higher temperatures are taking a toll of an iconic northern bird. The Gray Jay – the friendly Whiskey Jack of the boreal forest – has undergone a 50 per cent population drop in Algonquin Park over the past 25 years. The decline has been linked to spoilage of its perishable winter food caches, once kept reliably refrigerated by cold winters. Areas that in the past supported the Gray Jay are now abandoned.
The plight of some species – the American pika, the Edith’s checkerspot butterfly, the California newt – is so critical that the question being posed is whether they need assisted migration, which means being moved by us to locations where we deem the climate to be suitable for them, now and 50 to 100 years from now. Read more