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2012 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report
Climate Change and Wildlife - Local Trends

Question Indicator
The Natural Resources ​staff at Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation has been collecting wildlife data for decades, and it appears there may be an interesting trend beginning to occur with some of our species.

Green Tree Frog 

Climate Change and Wildlife - Local Trends
Mecklenburg County is home to a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from songbirds and raptors in our parks and neighborhoods to salamanders and coyote along our creeks and greenways. Wildlife depends on healthy habitats to live. Healthy habitats provide enough food, water, shelter and places to bear young so wildlife can remain at normal population levels.

With the increased focus on climate change and its potential to alter wildlife habitat, the Natural Resources staff at Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is taking note of shifts in the types of wildlife present in our area. Staff has been collecting data on the location and types of wildlife we have in the region for almost 20 years, and some recent observations of animals that have previously never been seen here before may indicate that they are moving into our area due to an increase in annual average temperatures.

For example, two species of tree frogs - the green tree frog (Hyla cinera) and squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirella) have been steadily moving north and east into Mecklenburg County for the past 15-20 years. While this may be due to several environmental factors, it may be primarily due to warmer winter temperatures that allow these critters to survive the colder months. Interestingly, staff is documenting similar trends with some examples of hummingbirds, songbirds and butterflies as they increasingly stay over the winter in our region.

For questions about wildlife in Mecklenburg County contact Chris Matthews, Natural Resources Manager at 704-432-4531 or at

What you can do to preserve and enjoy local wildlife
  • Observe wildlife from a distance by using binoculars or a camera to take pictures.
  • Tread lightly when walking in the woods or on our greenways so you do not damage wildlife habitat.
  • Visit one of our Nature Centers and pick up a checklist so you can keep track of all the wildlife and plant life you encounter in Mecklenburg County.
More Information
Return to Land Chapter Page

The trends shown in the State of the Environment Report are not all based on tests of statistical significance. Data analysis, anecdotal evidence, and best professional judgment have been compiled to represent these trends. The State of the Environment Report takes a snapshot of important environmental indicators in an effort to educate the public while highlighting challenges, successes and the general direction of change for each indicator. For additional information on these indicators and the determination of trends, please follow the links and feel free to contact the appropriate resources.

Last updated 4/16/12

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