NEW STUDY: Welfare and survival of Africa’s arid mammals under threat of climate change

Posted on February 24, 2021

Dr Ned Snelling, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology and Prof Leith Meyer, Director of the Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies, both from the Faculty of Veterinary Science have just published a new study on the welfare and survival of Africa’s arid-dwelling mammals under the threat of climate change. 

The pair teamed up with their Brain Function Research Group (BFRG) collaborators at Wits University to show how mammals will need to contend not only with increasing heat loads into the future, but also reduced water and food availability, a situation that will compromise their ability to regulate body temperature. The authors explain how a lack of water will suppress evaporative cooling during the day, while a lack of food will limit metabolic heat production at night, leading to body temperature irregularities, physiological malfunction and possible death.

Below: The research shows that accurate measurement of day and night heat flow gradients is key to predicting the welfare and survival of our arid-dwelling mammals under climate change. Image credit: Ned Snelling

The publication has appeared in a special themed issue - Predicting the Future: Species Survival in a Changing World - of the Journal of Experimental Biology with a once-off free access.

To access and view the study/abstract please click below or refer to the attachment.

Mammals like the aardvark that rely exclusively on termites for food may be especially at risk under climate change. Photo credit: Wendy Panaino

- Author NS
Published by Zama Mthembu


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