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Mountain goats under threat due to global warming

Mountain goats under threat due to global warming

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
17.01.2024 16:30

A study conducted at the University of Sassari confirms that global warming is endangering mountain goat populations.

A recent study conducted by a group of experts at Italy's University of Sassari has found that mountain goats are being affected by global warming. Due to changes in weather patterns, these animals have altered their habits and are now more active at night. This behavioural change can be dangerous for them.

Mountain goats in danger

A team of researchers from the University of Sassari conducted a study on the life of mountain goats. They used special GPS collars fitted with motion sensors to observe the activity of alpine goats. The data collected by the researchers made it clear that on warmer and hotter days, these animals were more active at night.

The research was conducted in two European national parks. To the dismay of the scientists, it was discovered that the goats' activity was more noticeable in areas where predators were abundant. This means that the goats were much more concerned about escaping the heat than avoiding the threat of predators.

"We expected higher levels of nocturnal activity in Switzerland where wolves [one of the animal’s main predators] were absent, but we found the opposite. We found that activity is higher in the areas with wolves," Dr Francesca Brivio, co-author of the study, told the media.

Mountain goats escaping heat

According to the study, animals are willing to risk their lives to cope with the stress of global warming. This confirms what scientists have suspected for a long time - that animals will go to great lengths to escape high temperatures.

"We can expect that when the temperature is lower during the night, other animals will shift their activity towards the nocturnal hours. If it is too hot during the day to eat or be active, they will prefer to perform all their activities, like foraging, at night," says Dr Francesca Brivio.

The researchers have highlighted that the increased activity of mountain goats during the night could significantly impact the entire species. These animals are naturally adapted to living during the day, which makes it difficult for them to search for food and move around during the later hours. This is not something that they are able to do from a young age.

Apart from the challenge of finding food at night, goats will now also have to face the issue of predators, which lurk around to hunt them. With the effects of global warming, the survival of this species could become exceedingly difficult.

Source: theguardian.com

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