A recent study found that large birds and animals are an important part of preventing climate change. Large animals, such as tapirs and primates, eat the seeds of large, heavy-wooded trees. When the seeds pass through the animals’ digestive systems, new trees are planted. These trees remove more carbon dioxide — which can cause climate change — from the earth’s atmosphere than smaller trees can. However, several large birds and animals are threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. If these animals go extinct, scientists believe that the large trees, which depend on the animals to disperse their seeds, will start dying out, too. This would decrease the forests’ ability to remove carbon from the air, possibly causing a temperature increase.
Photo of a silverback gorilla at the San Diego Zoo by Keith Roper/Flickr Creative Commons.