Global warming pitted goats and rams

(ORDO NEWS) — As the planet slowly warms up, the permanent ice on the mountain tops retreats, and animals open access to new resources.

But this process is not peaceful everywhere: if valuable mineral deposits are at stake, mountain goats and sheep do not hesitate to use their horns.

The consequences of global warming are difficult to overestimate: the level of the World Ocean is rising, rivers are changing their channels, the weather is becoming more and more unpredictable.

If current trends continue, within the next century, up to a fifth of the land will be occupied by deserts, and the largest cities of the world will be flooded by the rising sea.

However, when assessing the consequences of climate change, humanity is primarily focused on its own well-being, while already now many animals are experiencing problems in everyday life.

Degrading coral reefs, starving polar bears, and now mountain sheep and goats vying for valuable resources.

After studying the interaction of two species of large North American ungulates – bighorns ( Ovis canadensis ) and snow goats ( Oreamnos americanus ) in the Canadian mountains, scientists found that in the struggle for a valuable source of minerals – rocks exposed after the melting of the glacier – goats with their saber-shaped horns in 98 percent cases, they defeat the rams, driving them away.

For the territory of Canada, snow goats are a local species, but researchers are concerned that these ungulates have previously been introduced to more southern regions of North America, where they can now displace bighorns.

As climatic conditions worsen, the frequency of such collisions only risks increasing, which in the future may lead to the extinction of one of the species.

Global warming pitted goats and rams 2
Mountain sheep usually do not conflict with goats, unless it comes to especially valuable resources

The researchers emphasize that the example of these two ungulates is not the only case when species living in extreme conditions face each other in the struggle for valuable resources.

In harsh habitats, even a slight change in climate can be critical, and water, food, or shady areas during the heat of the day can all become an occasion for clashes between once-peaceful neighbors.


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