Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  


Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

Daily Newscasts

Punxsutawney Phil, Small Mammals at Risk from Climate Change

The snowshoe hare hasn't been seen in Maryland since the 1980s, and a new report says its habitat continues to shrink as a result of the changing climate. (Defenders of Wildlife)
The snowshoe hare hasn't been seen in Maryland since the 1980s, and a new report says its habitat continues to shrink as a result of the changing climate. (Defenders of Wildlife)
February 3, 2016

BALTIMORE - Groundhog Day predictions have never been a hundred percent accurate, but for a growing number of small mammals, a changing climate is already having an impact.

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation turns the spotlight away from Punxsutawney Phil to flying squirrels, pikas, the American pine marten and other critters facing serious threats as habitats shrink and food becomes scarce.

Andrew Gulliford, a hunter and environmental studies professor at Fort Lewis College, says warmer temperatures mean trouble for the snowshoe hare.

"As the climate seems to be warming, the snowshoe hares keep showing up white when there's no snow," says Gulliford. "And of course, if you're white and the forest is still green, coyotes are going to find you."

Gulliford explains the rabbit's protective camouflage is now a liability, because molting is based on hours of daylight, not the amount of snow. The snowshoe hare became "endangered extirpated" in Maryland in 1986, the official term meaning it's found elsewhere, but not in Maryland.

The study also shows the lynx, listed in 2000 as a threatened species in the Lower 48 states, and the arctic fox both are threatened by loss of habitat and food sources.

"Everybody loves seeing these when we're out hiking and climbing in the summer," says Gulliford. "These mammals need a certain high alpine habitat. They're going to be driven north - well, there's only so far you can go to the top of a mountain."

Another endangered mammal in Maryland is the North American Porcupine. The porcupine is neither globally rare nor a federally-listed species. It is rare in Maryland though, usually found only in the western part of the state.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD