CLIMATE CHANGE: THREAT TO HIMALAYAN FAUNA
The competition of modernization between the countries of the world has caused excessive growth in industrialization, urbanization, and transportation which is leading to the destruction of the environmental balance through climate change. The major consequences of climate change directly or indirectly affect the biological resources and life-sustaining system of nature.
The great Himalayan region has a very distinguishing identity in the perspective of its unique biogeography. It supports a huge number of lakes, glaciers, rivers, flora, and fauna due to its variable climate. It has an intense effect on the climate of the subcontinent. But due to anthropogenic activities, the global climate has changed for a few decades. The climate of the subcontinent has also negatively affected the biotic resources of the Himalayan region.
The impact of climate change in the Himalayan region and adjoining plains of major rivers are increasing the extinction rate of floral and faunal species, changing the rainfall pattern, changing the duration of vegetative growth of crop plants. Climate change is causing irreversible changes to its unique forest ecosystems and biodiversity, rendering several species extinct.
Abnormal snowfall due to climate change is causing behavioral changes in Himalayan bears- cutting short their hibernation period considerably. This is making the bears more aggressive and is leading to an increase in incidents between wildlife and humans.
The snow leopard's mountain habitat could become unlivable for the big cats, who are on the verge of extinction, due to climate change. The warm climate could cause the tree lines to shift up the mountains due to which farmers will plant crops and graze livestock at higher altitudes, squeezing the snow leopards into smaller zones where there is a greater possibility to face humans.
Moreover, red pandas, which are more closely related to raccoons are on the verge of getting extinct and are listed under the "vulnerable" species by the International Union for the conservation of nature. Climate change is just one of the numerous threats that red pandas face today. Since they are in such a small area in the Himalayas, and since climate change actively concerns that area, it moves the population higher in elevation. As a result, they're going to lose habitat even faster.
It is not only these species that are being affected due to climate change. Every species in the Himalayas including human beings is being affected. Climate change is affecting the birds too. It disrupts the migratory pattern of birds as well.
Climate change is a major concern, not only in the Himalayas but everywhere, which has to be addressed as climate change’s main reason. The main reason for climate change is some anthropogenic activities such as deforestation, combustion and, emission of greenhouse gases, which are frequently released in the atmosphere. Changes in consumption habits can help to address climate change. Mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse emissions, certain alternatives of fossil fuel should be found and unvented. Moreover, the government must manage the tourists since several tourist spots exist in the Himalayas.