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Wild College Mascots in Danger

Climate change is putting some of the nation’s most beloved college mascots in danger, including the terrapin, buffalo, wolverine and alligator, according to a new report.

Maryland's terrapin turtle is threatened by climate change, as warmer temperatures cause more eggs to hatch as females and rising sea levels encroach on habitat. Credit: College News Service
Maryland's terrapin turtle is threatened by climate change, as warmer temperatures cause more eggs to hatch as females and rising sea levels encroach on habitat. Credit: College News Service
By JUSTINE MCDANIEL
Capital News Service

As March Madness approaches, college mascots are busy getting ready for excited fans, tailgating students and historic games.

But their wildlife counterparts aren’t so lucky, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Climate change is putting some of the nation’s most beloved college mascots in danger, including the terrapin, buffalo, wolverine and alligator, the conservation organization said in a report released Tuesday.

That could leave the universities of Maryland, Colorado, Michigan, Florida and others with endangered or even extinct animals as mascots.

“The game may soon be over... for many of our wildlife mascots unless we reduce our carbon pollution and we develop instead… new clean energy sources,” said Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation.

The report, released in anticipation of the NCAA basketball tournament, which starts March 18, said that warming temperatures, sea level rise and extreme weather are threatening wildlife and their habitats.

For terrapins, warmer temperatures cause a greater proportion of their eggs to hatch as females, creating an imbalance that threatens their population, Inkley said. The reptiles, which live in coastal areas, also face dangers due to rising sea level.

“If we don’t do something to make the kinds of recommendations that the National Wildlife Federation has put forward... for future generations, as they are looking at our mascots … they’re going to be … thinking, ‘Wow, what were those animals? Who were those creatures?’” said Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Fort Washington.

The report includes recommendations for helping these animals, including passing laws to reduce carbon pollution, transitioning to cleaner energy sources considering climate change in wildlife and natural resource management.

Edwards, a ranking member on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee criticized climate change-deniers in Congress and said it was time to take action.

“I can’t wait to dig through the report and actually compare the dangers to those mascots to my brackets come Sunday,” Edwards said.
PH March 12, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Climate change, aka global warming, is a bunch of horse manure and many have been laughing all the way to the bank. Now the EPA is going to ban fireplaces and wood stoves, a major heating source throughout time. Al Gore has really profited and it's all a scam. Yes, the earth has always gone through climate changes. That has nothing to do with our carbon footprints (ridiculous name). Our environment today is 110 times more clean than in the past, recent or long past. Our ancestors recycled EVERYthing one way or another. The throw away society is very recent. MY BIGGEST POINT? Who here remembers the 'global cooling' scam back in the 70s? I will say no more.
Justin case March 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM
@Marie, thanks for setting me straight. If not for you I would still be pulling my hair out wondering what happened to Fred & Barney. All this time I thought Mr.Slate made the scoop dinosaur poop and Fred fell in and Barney tried to save him by cutting up a dinosaur and using his large intestine as a makeshift rope. Sadly both expired from suffocation. Thanks again. I can finally relax
Bud Herb March 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM
We spent $128 billion on green technology last year and most if not all was a boondoggle...solyndra,electric cars etc.
Nick March 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Not to mention the billions $$ in energy cost increases the US consumers pay because of failed and idiotic energy policy in Washington DC
PH March 13, 2014 at 01:52 PM
Justin, Bud, Nick, etc. THUMBS UP!

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