The Arctic is heating up faster than any other region of the planet. As a result, once-distinct boundaries between the frigid polar ocean and the warmer, neighboring Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are blurring, opening the way for the southern waters to enter the polar regions. The volume of Pacific Ocean water flowing into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait has increased by 70% over the past decade. The Arctic Ocean’s cold layering system that blocks Atlantic inflows is breaking down.
Climate change continues to pose a major threat to polar bear survival. Polar bears, whose native range largely lies within the Arctic Circle, depend on sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. And rising global temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
A new study has revealed that the global population of the world’s fastest land animal – the cheetah – is down to only 7,100, a drop of 50% over the past 40 years. The dramatic decline in cheetah population could soon lead to the extinction of the species unless urgent conservation efforts are made.
Snow leopards are majestic animals native to Central Asia. They roam the region’s rugged terrain, from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and Russia in the north, and to India and China in the east. Snow leopards are known for their thick white coat of fur with ringed black and brown spots. These markings help camouflage the animals from their prey. But the camouflage does little to protect snow leopards from one of their biggest threats: humans.
At night our planet is now bathed in artificial light, ranging from streetlights and floodlights to burning gas flares in oil fields. There are few places that are truly dark at night.