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Last Updated: Thursday October 06 2005 17:25 GMT

Climate is big threat to animals

A polar bear stares down the camera
Climate change could lead to the extinction of thousands of the world's birds and animals, a new report warns.

The study says species like polar bears, seals and dolphins are likely to suffer as their habitat and food supply changes or disappears.

Birds are also seriously under threat because the warm weather means they are less likely to migrate and breed.

Researchers also said that rises in sea temperature could have a devastating affect on the turtle population.

Higher sea levels caused by melting ice-caps mean many beaches turtles lay their eggs on will be reclaimed by the sea.

Turtle nesting on beach.  Image: BBC
Warmer seas could make some turtle species entirely female
And rising water temperature could lead to an all-female turtle population, because the sex of a hatchling is decided by heat coming from the water it is laid in.

The report, the Climate Change and Migratory Species, also found that species which normally live in southerly countries, like the little egret, the loggerhead turtle, and the red mullet, are being seen in and around the UK more frequently.

Food chain threat

This means they are no longer following their regular migration pattern, which will have a huge affect on the food chain and eco-system.

Although some will adapt to their new conditions, animals like polar bears and seals will find the changes difficult to survive, because their habitat is literally disappearing into the sea.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of European Union nature conservation chiefs in Scotland.

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