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"Happy Mother's Day": Report Says Not So Much for NC Wildlife

Photo: Ducks are one of the animals at risk because of climate change, according to a report released this week by the National Wildlife Federation. Courtesy: NWF / Pam Warburton
Photo: Ducks are one of the animals at risk because of climate change, according to a report released this week by the National Wildlife Federation. Courtesy: NWF / Pam Warburton
May 7, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. - This weekend, we'll honor our mothers with flowers, cards, and maybe even a piece of jewelry, but likely forgotten in the "Hallmark" holiday will be our furry, feathered and scaled friends.

A report released this week by the National Wildlife Federation highlights the importance that animal mothers play in the ecosystem and how climate change is making their job that much more difficult. Carol Buie-Jackson, chairwoman of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said relating the problem to human mothers makes it easier to grasp the issue.

"It just puts a different face on the climate issue," she said, "because we can relate to and sympathize and empathize with creatures that are just merely trying to feed their babies."

In North Carolina, trout and their young are in need of cold, clean water, made difficult by increasingly warm streams that rob them of the oxygen needed to survive. Meanwhile, mother sea turtles on the Carolina coast will continue to struggle to find a place to hatch eggs as sea levels rise.

The federation's report emphasized the importance of reducing carbon pollution and use of fossil fuels and investing in clean-energy development.

Felice Stadler, the federation's senior director of climate and energy, said taking action is not a partisan issue; it comes down to right and wrong.

"We have a moral obligation to leave a wildlife legacy for our children and grandchildren that we can be proud of," she said, "and as a mother, I think this is something that we all share."

The report also indicates leaders need to get "quacking" on climate change because of ducks whose populations are on the decline in North Carolina and the rest of the nation, Stadler said.

"Ducks are really important species to our sportsman and the conservation legacy that shapes so many of our lives," she said. "Their nesting spots in the Dakotas are drying up because of climate change."

According to the report, 50 percent of the nation's waterfowl nest in the northern Great Plains, where drought conditions brought on by climate change are making breeding difficult.

The report is online at nwf.org/wildlifelegacy.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC