Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

arctic tundra

Arctic tundra is often very flat, cold and windy.  Much of the ground is permanently frozen and the air is very dry.  In fact the tundra is a type of cold desert.  The temperature of the Arctic tundra varies from about 10oC in summer to -40oC or below in winter.  These conditions mean that there is little food for animals to live on, so the Arctic tundra can only support a small number of species.

Arctic Tundra, Photo (c) Jon Krisitian

WHERE ON EARTH IS IT?

Arctic tundra is located within the Arctic Circle around the ice cap at the frozen North Pole.

Parts of several countries can be found within the Arctic Circle including Russia, Alaska, Sweden, Finland, Greenland and Canada.

 

SOME OF THE ANIMALS FOUND IN ARCTIC TUNDRA

Arctic Fox
Actic Wolf
Musk Ox
Polar Bear
Reindeer


ISSUES & CHALLENGES

Pollution

Mining for minerals, drilling for oil and construction of roads and towns can pollute and damage the Arctic tundra even if the industry is in another country. Scientists have found that gases and chemicals released by factories in countries to the south of the Arctic Circle may be blown by winds towards the North Pole and fall in the form of acid snow.  This pollution can change the natural balance of the environment and can kill plants and animals.

Hunting

Much Arctic wildlife has been hunted at some time in the past. Traditionally, people who live in the tundra hunt to help clothe and feed themselves. However, other people now hunt many of those animals to export products, especially fur, elsewhere and this additional pressure has threatened a number of species. In the past the hunting of polar bears for sport caused a population decline and led to a hunting ban in many Arctic countries.

Global Warming

The earth’s climate is slowly warming up. This seems to be accelerating because of human activities, such as industry and households burning fossil fuels (eg coal, gas and oil). Exhaust fumes from millions of cars also pollute the atmosphere, forming a blanket around the earth causing it to warm up. Scientists fear this ‘global warming’ is already melting the polar ice caps, causing sea levels to rise and increasing the threat of flooding. Global warming could also change the climate in many countries, which may affect the ability of plants, animals and people to survive.

how you can help?

  • Learn about global warming and find ways to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use. For example, we can limit the amount we use cars and try to use public transport, cycle or walk whenever possible.
  • Make sure that we never buy ornaments or furs made from threatened animals found in the Arctic Circle.
  • Remember to turn off lights and turn down the heating to help save energy. By doing these two simple things we will be reducing the amount of gases that are released into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming.
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