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    Climate Change Leaves Caribou Calves Failing to Thrive

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Two Penn State University researchers have linked Arctic melting to the increased mortality rates among young Caribou in Greenland.

    Two Penn State University researchers have linked Arctic melting to the increased mortality rates among young Caribou in Greenland.

    At the core of the problem is that melting influences the growing periods of the plant life the Caribou depend upon for sustenance.

    Higher inland temperatures resulting from the diminished quantity of sea ice causes the plants to sprout and mature earlier in the season.

    Now, when the caribou arrive at the birthing grounds they’ve been using for an estimated 3000 years they find that their sustenance has passed its peak.

    What is available has lost a significant amount of its nutritional value.

    Said one of the scientists, "The animals show up expecting a food bonanza, but they find that the cafeteria already has closed."

    One of the researchers had previously linked earlier growth cycles to increased deaths among caribou calves.

    This time they were also successful in establishing a connection between early blooming, temperature change, and sea ice levels, thus extending the link of caribou mortality to arctic melting.

    Next for one of the researchers is extending the study to include other ecologies that also live near, and may be affected by, sea ice.