How do our lifestyles impact African wildlife?
Our lifestyle choices have immense impacts on the environment around us. Simple choices such as what food we buy and what transportation we take has adverse effects on climate change, referring to the global changes in temperatures and precipitation. Since the 19th century human activity has been the primary driver in climate change and the warming of our atmosphere.
This has global consequences, many of which I’m sure you are very familiar with, such as the melting of polar ice caps and increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events. This undoubtedly has major repercussions for the people who live in these places, with some people losing their homes or in more extreme cases their lives. But what about the animals that live in these regions who are unable to escape?
What impact is climate change having in Africa?
In Africa, climate change is having adverse effects all over the continent. From devastating floods and cyclones in South Africa to extreme temperatures in western and northern regions and a relentless drought spanning central and eastern Africa. There is no doubt that this continent who ironically has the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions of just 3.8% compared to a staggering 23% for China and 19% for the US, is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change impacts, with very little benefits to show in terms of economic growth.
How is this impacting African wildlife?
Biodiversity experts state that the extreme weather linked to human induced climate change across the African continent is putting a number of marine and terrestrial wildlife species at risk and significant efforts must be made to protect said species. Of those who are vulnerable, Africa’s infamous “big five” are particularly at risk of significant population loss.
This is due to climate change disrupting ecosystems and effecting the suitability of these habitats for certain species, decreasing their chances of survival. Just one example of how climate change is impacting wildlife is the increased temperatures drying up many riverbeds. This causes the species which rely on access to water to perish or relocate into new habitats seeking out new sources, changing ecosystems as a whole. Not only does this have adverse impacts on wildlife, but in some cases Lions and Leopards have relocated close to local communities causing human-wildlife conflicts. This significantly increases risks for both humans and wildlife.
How can I help to protect African wildlife?
By making small changes to our lifestyles and reducing our carbon footprint, we can help to protect and support the habitats of Africa’s vulnerable wildlife. This can be achieved by reducing the amount we drive and using more public transport, changing our diets to eat less red meat and processed foods or buying more eco friendly products.