This year, our America's Hottest Species report focuses on wildlife, fish, birds and plants on the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species that are particularly imperiled by global warming. The vast majority of these species were “listed” due to other causes. Only the polar bear and two corals have been listed as a result of the threat of global warming. However, scientists are increasingly seeing that climate change is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence.
A definitive list on the ten most impacted species is impossible, given the number of species feeling the heat from global warming. Therefore, the species included here are meant as ambassadors, representing the kinds of threats that many endangered species face across the nation. And listed species aren’t the only ones in jeopardy. Climate change is dangerous to a host of other species. The Pacific walrus, the Pika, the Wolverine, the Boreal toad, Mason’s skypilot, and the Bearded, Ringed and Spotted seals are all increasingly losing ground, quite literally, due to climate change. These species, and many others, are going to need significant help to survive.
This report presents a snapshot of the ways in which global warming is harming our treasured species. It was created in collaboration with our incredibly effective member groups. And numerous individuals in the scientific community guided us in selecting which species to highlight. In addition, thousands of our individual activists had the opportunity to get involved and vote for the species they were most concerned about. The Activist’s Choice is presented at the end of the report.
This report has truly been a group effort. Outstanding species profiles about the species and the work of member groups to protect them were contributed by Paige Bonaker and Josh Pollock from the Center for Native Ecosystems, Marydele Donnelly from the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, Noah Greenwald and Miyoko Sakashita from the Center for Biological Diversity, Anne Law and George Wallace from the American Bird Conservancy, Jonathan Proctor and David Gaillard from Defenders of Wildlife, Rob Roberts from Trout Unlimited, and Glen Spain from the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations. Greg Butcher from the National Audubon Society, Elizabeth Griffin from Oceana, Anders Rhodin from the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, and Eric Goode and Peter Praschag from the Behler Chelonian Center all provided us with guidance and information on species and the impacts that they face.
Anne Law from the American Bird Conservancy and Gilly Lyons from Save Our Wild Salmon assisted us in securing beautiful photographs for the report. A number of photographers very kindly donated their striking images either directly or by making them available to the public domain, including Guillaume Feuillet, Brandon Cole, Jack Jeffrey, Michael Graziano, Dave Bickford, Terry Tollefsbol, Welby Smith, and Carmen Converse.
The report was expertly guided and created by our Policy Director, Jon Hunter. Our Executive Assistant, Greg Kuether, contributed superb species profiles. Our intern Sophie Mason pulled together some initial research. And Jan Randall, our Board Member and Professor Emeritus of Biology at San Francisco State University prepared materials for us on the threats from climate change to wildlife which we drew upon for our introduction.
This generous gift of time, expertise and work by dozens of committed individuals throughout the country heartens us and gives us hope that no matter what obstacles we face, together we’ll be able to help buffer species from the worst impacts of climate change.