Today, I am eager to try the new climate change weight loss program that is so widely successful in bison. Apparently, as the temperature rises, bison lose weight. In this sweltering Missouri heat, I should be good for losing a few pounds—I think.
Researchers at Kansas State University examined how climate change during the next 50 years will affect grazing animals such as bison and cattle. Joseph Craine, K-State research assistant professor led the study which included 22 bison herds throughout the U.S. He collected data on weights, ages, and sexes of animals in these herds. Based on the information, Craine asserts that during the next 50 years, future generations of bison will be smaller and weigh less. He states that the weight is a result of the reduction in the nutritional quality of grasses, causing the animals to grow more slowly.
"We also know that warmer grasslands have grasses with less protein, and we now know that warmer grasslands have smaller grazers," he says. "It all lines up to suggest that climate change will cause grasses to have less protein and cause grazers to gain less weight in the future."
Weight loss results
His research suggests that the results of climate change can already be seen by comparing bison in cooler, wetter regions with those in warmer, drier regions. He points out that the average 7-year-old male bison in South Dakota weighs1,900-pounds, while an average 7-year-old male bison in Oklahoma weighs1,300-pounds.
"The difference in temperature between those two states is around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about three times the projected increase in temperatures over the next 75 years," Craine said. "That's a pretty extreme difference and beyond the worst-case scenario. But it is a clear indicator that long-term warming will affect bison and is something that will happen across the U.S. over the next 50-75 years."