Sunday, 1 May 2016

Climate change puts most-threatened African antelopes in 'double jeopardy'


Date:April 28, 2016
Source:Cell Press

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 28 say that climate change will cause a disproportionate decline in African antelopes with the smallest geographic ranges, placing the most-threatened taxa in "double jeopardy." The findings are the first to suggest that animals already living in the most-restricted areas will be hardest hit as the climate shifts in the coming decades.

"The study clearly shows that several antelope species are in need of urgent conservation action to avoid extinction," says Jakob Bro-Jørgensen of University of Liverpool in the UK.

Scientists had suspected that animals with the smallest ranges to start with might be at the greatest risk as the climate changes. That's because small ranges imply that species thrive under a very narrow range of conditions. Even small changes in climate could push those species outside of their comfort zones.

Species that are found only in very restricted areas "are usually more demanding in the combination of temperature and rainfall conditions they require, and therefore suitable areas are more likely to disappear when temperature and rainfall do not change together," Bro-Jørgensen says.


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