Wild animals suffer extreme heat and drought in the Palatinate Forest – SWR Aktuell

The animals in the Palatinate Forest suffer greatly from the constant heat and drought. Vital wet homes are disappearing and food supplies are slowly becoming scarcer.

Insects, dragonflies, moths and animals that live in streams are hardest hit, says Jürgen Reinke of Nabu Kaiserslautern. Many species of small animals depend on humid biotopes. But it is becoming increasingly rare. On the other hand, constant heat and drought play a major role. On the other hand, people are not completely innocent in the situation. These animals are in dire need of old wood and branches that can easily rot on the forest floor. Wood provides important nutrients and shade as well as water. Jürgen Reinke emphasizes that the forest is often very “tidy”, especially when people go for walks and walks, more and more insect habitats are lost.

“Chaos in the woods means dampness and variety.”

Horn beetles and fire salamanders also rely on these hiding places to survive. A massive decline in insects has been observed for years. The current heat and drought have the potential to drive the extinction of entire populations, says Jürgen Reinke.

This in turn affects the birds. Because they depend on all kinds of insects and worms as their main source of food. If the birds cannot find enough food, there are fewer offspring. The forest and nature is a cycle. Everything is connected and affects each other.



If it is too hot and dry, the stork will run out of food, too. No water, fewer frogs and therefore less prey.


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Warm currents are cruel to animals

For example, if a lot of water evaporates from streams, the water temperature also rises and the oxygen for fish and other creatures decreases. In addition, there are always problems with algae when it is too hot, because it reproduces explosively under these climatic conditions. As Jürgen Reinke explains, less water also means there are fewer tadpoles and therefore fewer frogs. This in turn applies to storks, for example. Because the frog is part of their diet. Just like earthworms, which are also hard to find in dry soil.

A little food for deer, wild boar and the like is worse than a little water

Increased food shortages cause more problems for large forest animals such as wild boar, roe, elk, or rabbit than a little water. According to Jürgen Reicke, these animals can easily travel longer distances before they encounter water again. But the fact that there are hardly any fruits or nuts, especially in very hot years, is a big problem. Trees suffering from a lack of water drop their fruit, such as fruit, nuts, or pecans, very early, long before they are ripe. Trees do this so that they can store the little moisture that is available in order to survive.



A deer in a field near the forest.  (Photo: picture-alliance/Report Services, Picture Alliance)

Large forest animals such as deer, wild boars or rabbits can still find water sources because they can cover longer distances. But even with their presence, the food supply is slowly becoming scarce.


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Saving water helps the forest and the animals

Eugene Reinke of NABU Kaiserslautern explains that putting water bowls for animals in the woods doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help much. Few animals have benefited from this. It would be better if everyone watched their water consumption. Saving water helps the forest more. Because the less it is consumed, the less should be promoted. This means that the groundwater level is not dropping as quickly as the forest benefits.

However, in the private sector, it still makes sense to create water troughs. In your own garden, water helps not only birds, but also hedgehogs and insects, for example. It is always best to place a stone in the bowl so that birds or small insects have a foothold and do not sink into the bowl.



Due to the lack of rain, pigeons can no longer find enough water in the cities.  (Photo: picture-alliance/Report Services, Picture Alliance)

It is difficult for pigeons to find water in cities. Many dehydrated animals are cared for back to health at Taubenhilfe Kaiserslautern.


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City pigeons suffer too

Pigeons in cities are not good in these temperatures either. This says Sandra Labinski of Taubenhilfe Kaiserslautern. Pigeons have already suffered greatly due to the ban on feeding. Now the water is scarce. For example, there are only a few fountains in the city center of Kaiserslautern. These are often not suitable for a bathroom because they are too deep and animals can drown in them. Sandra Labinski is currently getting a lot of pigeons that are completely dry and need to be groomed again.

It also recommends placing water bowls for birds. If you don’t have a garden, you can also place a flat pot on your windowsill. This greatly helps thirsty birds.

Young birds leave their nests due to the heat

People bring her many small birds now. Pigeons, as well as other bird species such as swallows, often breed under rooftops. The temperature is currently so high that many young birds are jumping out of their nests to protect themselves from the heat. Sandra Labinski explains that the young usually sit on the ground injured and because they can’t fly yet, they can’t go back to the nest. In addition to the sick and almost thirsty adult pigeon, she is currently taking care of her hands, keeping the chicks alive, taking care of them healthy and pampering them so that they can be released back into the wild.

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