Climate Change and Habitat Loss

Climate change is real and deadly dangerous – and it is wiping out wildlife and wild habitats across the globe.

Recent projects

Climate change is killing wildlife around the planet and destroying habitats and ecosystems. Time to mitigate the damage is running out. Scientists warn that the effects of global warming are far worse than generally acknowledged, and unless we take immediate, drastic and decisive action, our survival and that of animals and ecosystems is severely imperiled. The importance of this climate change cannot be overstated.

The climate crisis

In recent decades, ecologists have observed significant changes in the condition and distribution of wildlife across the globe. These changes are occurring at unprecedented rates, higher than expected for any species. Extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, drought, disease and higher temperatures, combined with human activity, is causing wild spaces to shrink, shift, melt, burn away or disappear entirely. Animals are being corralled into smaller and smaller spaces as their natural habitats are destroyed, rapidly reducing their numbers and leading to increasing incidences of human-wildlife conflict. The knock-on effects of climate change are devastating.

A dead polar bear.
Food scarcity, melting glaciers and loss of habitat are just some of the many devastating impacts climate change is having on the survival of animals globally.

Here’s what we are doing to help protect habitats and prevent an even worse climate
crisis.

ASI is committed to doing everything we can to reduce the effects that habitat loss and climate change is having on animals.

East Africa

In northern Kenya, wildlife is under constant, mounting pressure. The country’s worst drought in decades, attributed to climate change, has crippled communities and wiped-out precious wildlife in droves. Endangered species like the reticulated giraffe – estimated to number only 6000 – are racing towards extinction as they drop dead of thirst on the Kenyan landscape.

Compounding the drought crisis is that, in wildlife areas, farmers illegally chop down forest 
trees and burn them for charcoal, leaving behind a destroyed habitat and resulting in hunger and death for wild animals. The effect on elephants is particularly disturbing. Once the forests are gone, and their food with it, the elephants go closer to human settlements. This results in increased human-wildlife conflict and increases the possibility of poaching for the illegal ivory trade.

In terms of drought relief, we are working with local partners to install boreholes in some of
most critically affected areas. We have also sent water trucks to bring relief to wildlife who
travel great distances only to discover dried-up watering holes and often drop dead on their
banks. With your support, we will continue our efforts in Kenya as this catastrophic drought
wears on.

In tackling deforestation, an effective long-term solution is “Operation Seedballs”, a reforestation project in partnership with Nairobi’s Tamfeeds. Seedballs are made using modified charcoal dust to create a protective layer around a seed. The seedballs are then dropped from helicopters in deforested areas around Mount Sizwa, near the capital Nairobi, and other areas not affected by extreme drought, mimicking the way seeds are naturally distributed by birds. When it rains, the dust dissolves and hopefully, a tree grows. This project is already successful, and with your ongoing support, we will continue to seed a better future for countless threatened and endangered animals.

A dead giraffe in Kenya.
Recent droughts have resulted in the death of a worrying number of rare giraffes in Kenya. Many other species are badly hit. Credit: Sharmake Mohamed/Sambuli Wildlife Conservancy

South Africa

Drought is devastating the wildlife of the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape. In 2021, through the support of our donors, we were able to install six state-of-the-art solar-powered water pumps to keep the park’s main camp waterholes full.

The next phase of our project is to install two additional pumps for waterholes in the park’s
northernmost Darlington area to bring relief to the 28-strong elephant family we moved there to return elephants to an area, where they had been extinct for 150 years. This project is underway, and we continue to work closely with Addo’s wildlife experts to help bring relief to the wildlife living there.

We also work closely with Addo’s anti-poaching teams by providing vital equipment including drones, housing for tracker dogs and tracking devices for elephants.

Addo is also home to a critical penguin breeding ground at Bird Island off the South African Indian Ocean cost. Because of, to changing weather patterns the island has been affected by fierce and unrelenting weather conditions. We help fund the rescue and rehabilitation of vulnerable African penguin chicks here who have been abandoned by their mothers due to extreme weather conditions and food scarcity.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Cape, we relocated several giraffes, zebras and 50 wildebeest who
risked being killed by trophy hunters when their game sanctuary was turned into a commercial farming concern. Through the support of our donors, we were able to undertake this delicate, large-scale translocation and successfully transfer the animals to a lush, sprawling nature reserve in the Western Cape in late 2021.

In 2022, we raised funds to relocate a group of giraffes living on a totally unsuitable piece of land in the same province. Our plan was to move the giraffes to a sanctuary with sufficient space and vegetation. As we prepared to move them, a giraffe calf was born. The birth led to the postponement of the relocation until the calf is old enough to receive light sedation, and all four animals be safely moved as a family. The giraffes are almost ready to be moved to their new home where they can live and thrive among their own in open grasslands stretching over rolling hills. In the meantime, until they can be carefully moved, we need your continued support to provide these animals with essential food and veterinary care in their present location.

We also supported the rehabilitation of seven barn owl chicks found alone and starving in a nest in South Africa’s St Helena Bay. Barn owls do not desert their young, so the breeding pair most likely met their demise as a direct or indirect result of human encroachment.

Finally, we helped fund two tracking collars for a critical cheetah breeding pair at the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP). Cheetahs are currently listed as ‘Threatened’ and face multiple, and mounting, threats to their survival every year: being poached for their skins; sold into the exotic pet market as cubs; being killed by trophy hunters and losing theirhabitats due to human encroachment. The collars enable the cheetahs to be tracked and their health carefully monitored, so that they can have the best chance of procreating.

Elephants in Addo Elephant National Park
Elephants in the Addo Elephant National Park enjoy some much- needed water provided by solar pumps installed by Network for Animals.

Globally

Over and above our current projects, we support research and raise awareness on habitat and climate-related issues so that globally, animal populations stand a chance to survive. We also pledge to hold those in power accountable for their actions, calling them out when lip service and lax enforcement fail to get the job done. Our campaigners continually search for more ways take action on the ground, and to make meaningful impact for the animals.

Changing the way we live is the only way we can stop destroying natural habitats and preserve wildlife. This means putting pressure on the authorities to pass and enforce environmental legislation; reclaiming habitat areas and returning them to the wild so that biodiversity can thrive; safeguarding the existing wild areas, and making conscious choices about what we eat and consume. We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and continue pressurizing large corporations to reduce their carbon emissions. And, in everything we do, we must consider the animals and their habitats – for their survival depends on us, and ours, on theirs.

An expanding human population is causing us to lose vital natural habitats through destruction and fragmentation at a rapid rate.

Please help animals

Your donations help us do our vital work to protect and save animals around the world!

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