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Great Tits Could Be Wiped Out By 2100 Because Of Climate Change

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Great Tits Could Be Wiped Out By 2100 Because Of Climate Change

Research has discovered that the great tit - one of the UK's most common garden birds - could be extinct by 2100 because of climate change which is impacting the animals' food sources.

Analysis carried out by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that great tits rely on insect larvae to feed their chicks during spring, but rising temperatures would see the larvae hatch earlier than expected - leaving the chicks limited on supplies.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Great tits have to breed at the same time that insect larvae are most sufficient in order to have food ready. The birds would also need to evolve however a fast change in temperature could see them left behind.

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Emily Simmonds, an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Biology, said: "If the changes happen too fast, species can become extinct.

"When the climate changes, the interactions between different species changes too. Given conditions with big greenhouse gas emissions, the great tits won't always be able to keep up with the changes in the larvae supply."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

In the worst case scenario, the entire population could disappear by 2100 with Professor Simmonds adding: "This could happen even if the great tits are also modifying their behaviour faster in a rapidly changing environment. The larvae might be changing even faster than the great tits."

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If the larvae appear just 24 days earlier than the current norm in 2020 then the worse case scenario is feared to be a reality.

Professor Simmonds went on to say: "It could be that the apparent stability today is hiding a future collapse. The good news is that the populations will be able to survive scenarios with lower or medium warming trends."

Not all news in the animal kingdom is quite so worrying this week, however - just days ago, a photographer captured pictures of a rare 'black' tiger in India.

Soumen is a student from Kolkata (Credit: Soumen Bajpayee/Caters)
Soumen is a student from Kolkata (Credit: Soumen Bajpayee/Caters)
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Soumen Bajpayee saw the melanistic tiger - also known as black tigers because of their thick black stripes that hide their orange fur - in eastern Odisha, India.

The big cat is one of just six that are thought to exist in the world, making it very rare. On the verge of extinction, the species is only found in the jungles of the Indian state.

The black tigers are smaller than their regular counterparts, with Bajpayee saying the one he spotted took him by surprise as it didn't look 'like a usual tiger'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Animals

Rebecca Shepherd
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