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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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NWF Report: Climate Changes Affect NC Wildlife

PHOTO: The Waccamaw Silverside is already on the endangered species list in North Carolina, the dangers of climate change won't help matters.
PHOTO: The Waccamaw Silverside is already on the endangered species list in North Carolina, the dangers of climate change won't help matters.
January 30, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. - From black bears to trout, wildlife and fish in North Carolina already are feeling the impact of climate change, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.

Scientists studied the effects of changing temperatures on wildlife across the nation and predicts that, without action to reduce carbon pollution, the planet could warm by 7 to 10 degrees by the end of the century.

A report co-author, Dr. Doug Inkley, says the climate is affecting species native to forests on North Carolina mountaintops.

"Climate change is forcing the coniferous forests further up," he says, "and basically, they'll just run out of habitat as they keep moving higher and higher."

Inkley says there's also evidence that black bears are hibernating for shorter periods of time, making the chance for human contact greater. He adds that brook trout are disappearing from some North Carolina waterways because of higher temperatures.

Tim Gestwicki, who heads the National Wildlife Federation in North Carolina, sees year after year of record-breaking heat and extreme weather in the state as proof that climate change is real.

"The science is indisputable on this, and there's no reason to keep debating that fact," he says. "The time is now to move forward and as sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts, we are eager and ready to start working with our elected officials on solving this problem."

Although the problems are serious, he says, there are ways to curtail climate change, including reducing carbon emissions across the nation. In North Carolina, that could mean planting more vegetation around trout streams to shade them and reduce water temperatures.

The report, "Wildlife in a Warming World," is online at nwf.org/climatecrisis.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC