For Immediate Release, October 9, 2019

Contact:

Shaye Wolf, (510) 844-7101, swolf@biologicaldiversity.org

Report: Climate-fueled Superstorms Pushing 10 U.S. Species Closer to Extinction

MIAMI— The Puerto Rican parrot and the Florida manatee are among 10 U.S. species especially at risk from climate change-fueled superstorms, says a report released today by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Human-caused climate change is multiplying the destructive power of hurricanes by increasing their intensity, rainfall and storm surge — the huge walls of water that crash into coastlines during storms. These superstorms cause flooding, severe winds and scattered debris that can kill or injure animals and damage habitats.

“The climate crisis is feeding monster hurricanes that bring suffering and death to some of our nation’s most vulnerable wildlife,” said report author Shaye Wolf, the Center’s climate science director. “With each superstorm, coastal species already near extinction are blown away by brutal winds, drowned by floodwaters or left with decimated habitats. It’ll only get worse until we get serious about curbing climate pollution.”

Wolf analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and scientific literature to determine which endangered species are most threatened by intensifying Atlantic hurricanes. The table below lists 10 of the species most at risk, along with their population sizes and locations.

Many species on the list suffered enormous population declines from one or more recent Atlantic hurricanes, including Harvey, Maria and Irma. For example, Hurricanes Maria and Irma wiped out nearly half of the wild Puerto Rican parrot population. Hurricane Irma slashed the Florida key deer population by 23 percent.

The report concludes that urgent action to combat the climate emergency is necessary to save these species from extinction. Those actions include a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel production and a just transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. It also calls for protecting and restoring living shorelines and defending the Endangered Species Act from the Trump administration’s attacks.

“The Trump administration is dismantling critical climate policies with one hand and tearing down the Endangered Species Act with the other,” Wolf said. “To preserve a future where magnificent green sea turtles still nest on our shores, and to avoid catastrophic ecosystem collapse, we need to act now.”

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.