Global warming is threatening to render extinct the popular reindeer and caribou from the Arctic in more ways than melting their habitat; by resurrecting their arch foes. The reindeers and the caribou at the North Pole have long been experiencing reducing numbers due to global warming.
Scientists now warn their extinction could happen before their habitat is destroyed.
A new model shows warming Arctic temperatures will lead to the resurrection of a plague of blood sucking mosquitoes raining down on the susceptible mammals. Scientists have reported that the swarms of mosquitoes will render these North Pole residents bitten and helpless.
For the younger herd members such attacks result in certain death.
Postdoc researcher Lauren Culler, from the Dickey center Institute of arctic Studies, said "Increased mosquito abundance, in addition to northward range expansions of additional pest species, will have negative consequences for the health and reproduction of caribou. Warming in the Arctic can thus challenge the sustainability of wild caribou and managed reindeer in Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland and parts of northwest Russia), which are an important subsistence resource for local communities."
When the winds drop and the summer sun bakes ponds dotting the frozen tundra, part of the Arctic’s most notorious predators awaken; thousands upon thousands of swarming mosquitoes.
These prey on the reindeers, calibou, animals and humans residing in the Arctic. When these predators spot their prey, the attack is relentlessly unforgiving.
Culler said, “There aren’t a lot of animals for them to eat in the Arctic, so when they finally find one, they are ferocious. They are relentless. They do not stop. They just keep going after you.”
With the Arctic melting twice as fast, temperatures are getting warmer, mosquitoes emerge from the Arctic Circle much earlier, grow much faster and survive much longer.
Culler’s new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that is Arctic temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius, mosquitoes surviving could increase by up to 53 per cent. Arctic mosquitoes do not carry human diseases, unlike their tropical counterparts, however, they do carry animal diseases infecting reindeers and the calibou.
Culler’s research detailed that the Arctic was warming twice as fast as other places in the world and that the warming was actually causing the insects to grow faster. Mosquitoes, she explained, are vulnerable during their infantry. “The faster they go through these life stages, the better off they are.”
More worrying is the fact that the coming purge is only the beginning. It can get worse.
Global warming is threatening many species. The Arctic’s reindeers and caribou are already feeling the heat and consequences of the human-induced phenomenon way before it hits the big scale. Unless swift action is taken, future Christmases may be devoid of Santa’s sleigh pullers.