Squirrels affected by climate change
Columbian ground squirrels from the Rocky Mountain range in Canada are hibernating ten days longer than they used to, due to the affects of climate change.
A team from the University of Alberta (U of A) in Canada have been researching the hibernation trends of these squirrels over the last 20 years, and have discovered that they are now hibernating for ten days longer, which is having a harmful affect on the species.
Trends show that the late spring snowfall in the Rocky Mountain area may be the cause for the late wake up call, and the research teams' concern is that the squirrels are already on a tight schedule.
'Losing just ten days during their short active period reduces their opportunity to eat enough food so they can survive through the next hibernation period of eight to nine months,' said Jeff Lane, U of A Evolutionary Ecologist. 'Our data shows that over the life of the study, the survival rate of adult females has fallen by 20 per cent'.