Like almost every other type of animal and plant in the world, whale species stand to be severely affected by rising global temperatures. For one thing, many larger whales are heavily dependent for food on krill – tiny planktonic invertebrates that depend on waters to survive. Global warming plunge krill populations into a decline, in turn endangering many species of whale. Several whales, such as narwhals, belugas, and bowhead whales, also rely specifically on icy polar waters for habitat, and will suffer as ice flows continue to retreat. Warmer ocean waters than those to which whales are adapted to may also cause some species to be more susceptible to disease. These are just a few of the ways whales will be affected by global warming; the survival of these magnificent animals may well be dependent on the world’s major economies making dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.
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