“For sometime now I’ve been terribly worried. I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge it, but everything I have feared is happening. I used to think I was paranoid, but it’s true. She’s slipping away from us.
She’s been showing signs of acute illness for quite a while, but no one has really done anything. Her increased erratic behaviour is something I’ve especially noticed. Certain behaviours that were only rare occurrences are starting to occur more often, and with heightened anger.
I’ve tried to highlight these changes time and time again, as well as their speed of increase, but no one has paid attention. It almost seems everyone has been ignoring me completely, and I’m not sure why.
Is it easier to pretend there’s no illness, hoping it will go away? Or because they’ve never had to live without her, so the thought of death is impossible? perhaps they cannot see they’ve done this to her. We all have.” – Dr Sarah Perkins Climate Scientist, Extreme Events Specialist University of New South Wales.
Red squirrels appear to be evolving in response to climate change, scientists report today, the first sign that creatures are undergoing genetic alteration due to rising temperatures.
Canadian scientists studying North American red squirrels – which are related to their British counterparts – say compared with 10 years ago, female squirrels are giving birth about 18 days earlier.
Much of the difference from one generation to the next is due to squirrels’ ability to respond to the rise in their staple food, white spruce cones, as temperatures increase. But a small component is due to natural selection, the basis of evolution.
The research, published by the Royal Society, shows that natural selection is favouring squirrels whose genes tend towards breeding earlier in the season. We show that a small part of these changes can be caused by microevolutionary responses, said Denis Réale, of McGill University in Montreal, who led the study of 325 squirrels near Kluane Lake in the Yukon.